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Posts Tagged Climate science

Getting it Wright on sea level rise Gareth Renowden Nov 27

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Sea level rise of up to 40cm around New Zealand by the middle of this century is already locked in and will cause significant problems for coastal communities and infrastructure, according to a new report just released by Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. The report — Changing Climate and Rising Seas: Understanding the Science [pdf] — provides an overview of why sea levels are currently rising and why they are expected to continue rising over the rest of this century and beyond. A follow-up report due next year will “show in some detail which areas of the coastline around the country are most vulnerable to sea level rise and assess the risk to infrastructure in those areas”.

Introducing the report, Dr Wright said that the scientific evidence is now irrefutable. “The climate is changing and causing the sea to rise”.

“A rise of 30 cm may not sound much, but its impact will be very costly for many landowners. Damaging coastal floods will become increasingly frequent. The insurance industry is becoming aware of, and responding to, the increased flooding risk. Some councils and communities have already started to face hard questions.”

Commenting on the report for the Science Media Centre, Associate Professor Nancy Bertler of the Joint Antarctic Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington/GNS Science, said:

The report provides an excellent summary on the current knowledge of past and future sea level rise including the main drivers and the regional patterns. Dr. Wright highlights the concern of the scientific community on the possibility of substantial and abrupt future contributions from the West Antarctic ice sheet.

Additional important considerations are that: worldwide over 200 million people live within one metre of sea level. The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was at 400 ppm (3-5 million years ago) the associated global temperatures caused the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to catastrophically collapse – raising global sea level by around ten to twenty metres.

The rate at which sea level will rise has important implications on our ability to adapt. New research suggests that sea level could rise as quickly as 4 metres per 100 years (or 1 metre per 25 years). Assuming even a modest global sea level increase of 50 cm by 2100 (IPCC scenario RCP 4.5), the frequency of coastal inundation in New Zealand is predicted to increase by a multiplier of 1000 times.

Under such a scenario, an annual event becomes a daily event, a ‘100 year’ event occurs several times per year. As an approximation: every 0.1m rise triples the frequency of inundation events.

Dr Wright focusses on the near term implications for New Zealand, a sensible choice given the tendency to dismiss sea level rise as a problem for the distant future, but in my view she misses an opportunity to spell out the strong relationship between atmospheric CO2 levels and equilibrium sea level. The last time CO2 stood at 400 ppm, global sea level was about 20m higher than today. That’s where we’re heading, unless we can get greenhouse gas levels down, and it has very important implications for emissions policy. But I’m nit-picking…

Changing Climate and Rising Seas is a very readable introduction to the science of sea level rise, and gives a very clear picture of the state of current knowledge. It’s a welcome addition to what passes for national discourse on the inevitability of climate change and the necessity of adapting to what it brings. Next year’s report on regional impacts will be even more important.

This year’s (super) model: visualising atmospheric CO2 Gareth Renowden Nov 20

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Here’s a superb high resolution supercomputer visualisation from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center of the flows of CO2 in the atmosphere around the planet. Apart from being beautiful to look at, it shows the major sources of CO2 emissions in the northern hemisphere, and the seasonal change in CO2 levels as the northern hemisphere summer plant growth makes the planet “breathe in”. All the major features of the flow of weather around the planet are shown in great detail. The visualisation was produced by a new very high resolution global climate model called GEOS-5. The NASA press release explains:

…the visualisation is part of a simulation called a “Nature Run.” The Nature Run ingests real data on atmospheric conditions and the emission of greenhouse gases and both natural and man-made particulates. The model is then is left to run on its own and simulate the natural behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere. This Nature Run simulates May 2005 to June 2007.

It is a very high resolution model:

The resolution of the model is approximately 64 times greater than that of typical global climate models. Most other models used for long-term, high-resolution climate simulations resolve climate variables such as temperatures, pressures, and winds on a horizontal grid consisting of boxes about 50 km wide. The Nature Run resolves these features on a horizontal grid consisting of boxes only 7 km wide.

With high resolution comes the need for a lot of computing power:

The Nature Run simulation was run on the NASA Center for Climate Simulation’s Discover supercomputer cluster at Goddard Space Flight Center. The simulation produced nearly four petabytes (million billion bytes) of data and required 75 days of dedicated computation to complete.

More info — including a closer look at some parts of the globe — here.

[Mr Costello & His Attractions]

Crowdfunding Thin Ice: the final push Gareth Renowden Nov 19

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The Kickstarter campaign to get climate documentary Thin Ice shown on public TV in the USA is closing in on its target. At the time of writing, the total pledged stands at NZ$21,199 — just over 75% of the way to the $27,500 needed with 4 days to go. The film’s producer, professor Peter Barrett, is pleased with the progress:

We are enormously grateful to our 156 supporters thus far. It’s proving to be a challenging journey, but it will be worth it if we can get Thin Ice tailored for American Public TV for the most influential people in the world on this issue.

For an idea of just how good Thin Ice is, have a look at the video above — scientists talking about why they do science. Dave Harwood defines science, Nancy Bertler and Ros Rickaby talk about what turned them on to it, Wally Broecker says what’s important for him, Liz Sikes explains why she enjoys it, and Ray Pierrehumbert gives some reasons for trusting the scientific process.

If have any spare cash for a good cause, get over to Kickstarter and make a pledge. And spread the word: there’s not far to go, but there are only 4 days left to hit the target. Let’s make it happen!

National Business Review: last bastion of climate denial in NZ pushes de Freitas tosh Gareth Renowden Nov 18

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The National Business Review — New Zealand’s biggest-selling business weekly — provides a happy media home for climate deniers of all stripes. Columnists like former ACT Party leader Rodney Hide and right wing spin doctor Matthew Hooton1 are given free rein to rant and rave about climate issues, but occasionally editor Nevil Gibson offers its august platform to others so that they can spout fatuous piffle. Last week’s issue featured an opinion column by Chris de Freitas, in which he waxes lyrical about his recent paper on the NZ temperature record — the shonky one that claims to find warming to be only one third of what real experts calculate.

The NBR hides most of its material behind a paywall, so I can’t link directly to the text — but the less scrupulous chaps at the NZ Climate “Science” Coalition2 are happy to host a pdf lifted from the NBR site.

As you might expect, de Freitas doesn’t restrict himself to narrow concepts of truth and factual accuracy. He mentions the cranks’ court case…

The High Court ruled against the trust and ordered it to repay court costs.

… but neglects to point out that the trust has since failed to pay those costs. It has of course been put into receivership, thus allowing the trustees to escape the $90,000-worth of financial consequences of losing their crackpot case.

de Freitas also misrepresents the membership of the trust.

The trust was suspected of hosting global warming sceptics, which was clearly not the case, as the group was not asserting climate warming does not exist. Rather it represented the view of those who are sceptical of alarmist claims that dangerous human-caused global warming is taking place.

The trustees were Bryan Leyland, Terry Dunleavy and Doug Edmeades, with Barry Brill acting as their lawyer. Leyland, Dunleavy and Brill are men with long track records as “global warming sceptics” — not least Leyland, who is on record predicting imminent global cooling.

The rest of de Freitas’s op-ed repeats the misdirections that can be found in the text of his paper, mostly dealt with in my first post on the matter a couple of weeks ago, but there are two I can’t let pass:

The newly published work aimed to apply the method set out by Rhoades and Salinger exactly as they describe, without adjusting it in any way.

dFDB 2014 chooses to interpret the methods suggested by Rhoades and Salinger in a very particular way — one that has the effect of reducing the apparent warming trend. If those methods are properly applied, as in Mullan 2012, the warming reappears3.

de Freitas also attempts to justify the whole farrago:

National temperature trends are widely used for a large number of societal design and planning purposes and it is important that they should be as reliable as modern methods allow.

This is transparent nonsense. Historical temperature trends are interesting, but they play no useful part in future planning. To plan in the face of rapid climate change, we need good regional projections for temperature changes, sea level rise and increases in weather extremes. Those will come from climate models, not temperature records.

de Freitas’s paper is nothing more than a political exercise — a part of the climate cranks long running campaign against NIWA. It’s dressed up as an academic paper — but like the Emperor’s new clothes, the finery is only visible to the cranks themselves.

The NBR, meanwhile, confirms its position as the last bastion of climate denial opinion. As I’ve said before, it could be argued that the business community gets the journalism it deserves. It would appear New Zealand’s business community continues to be in deep, deep trouble.

  1. Hooton’s last column on climate matters appeared two weeks ago, and managed to be a spectacular home goal. But then he’s no stranger to those.
  2. Let’s not forget that they are quite happy to register a charitable trust to bring a court case against NIWA, and then fold it so that the trustees can escape the financial consequences of their actions, so the fact that they are happy to disrespect the NBR’s paywall should come as no surprise.
  3. There will be more on this in future posts at HT on the dFDB 2014 paper and the desperate attempts by the authors to justify their conclusions.

Carbon News 17/11/14: G20 climate action Gareth Renowden Nov 17

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Minister knows of water woes, but public information tap is turned off

Finance Minister Bill English has been told something about fresh water — but the public isn’t allowed to know what it is. Last month, Ministry for the Environment officials were forced to admit they were wrong to say that the quality of our waterways is “stable or improving”.

Deal or no deal — can China and the US deliver?

It’s been called an historic agreement — a game changer in the battle to combat climate change. But can China and the US fulfil the promises in their announcement of plans to cut carbon emissions?

Does this climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” — US Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, November 12, 2014.

Crowd-funders get behind CarbonScape

Kiwi cleantech company CarbonScape has hit its crowd-funding equity target.

We can cut carbon and pollution at no cost, says China

China can achieve economic development, energy security and reduce pollution at the same time, according to a major new study.

Green groups want say on Ruataniwha changes

Environmental groups want to have their say on a late tweak to the conditions imposed on the proposed $230 million Ruataniwha dam in Hawke’s Bay in a High Court challenge.

G20 climate challenge calls for a rethink of economics

Focusing on growth, the Brisbane G20 leaders’ summit has not grappled with three key issues – how much more growth the planet can survive, how poorer nations can raise their living standards to parity with the developed world, and how can a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth be realised?

Expand climate portfolio, says Mahuta

The Cabinet portfolios of agriculture and climate change should be given to the same person, says Labour Party leadership hopeful Nanaia Mahuta.

Lakes expert to spotlight water quality

An American water quality expert who has studied and modelled the effects of nutrients in American lakes will be sharing his knowledge at a public forum in Rotorua this week.

Launchpad jury likes wilding pines project

Taking an environmental problem and turning it into a commercial success has seen a Queenstown social enterprise team taken under the wing of a business incubator.

New Australian report debunks coal industry myths

The coal industry has many friends in high places, and none more so than Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia — one of the world’s major producers of a fuel that earns the country billions from exports.

UK ignores pledge to end fossil fuel support

Despite promises to phase out subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industries, a new report says the UK and other G20 governments are still providing them with massive financial help.

On the web: coal industry costs Australia $8 billion in medical bills

  • New Commission floats first ‘kill list’ of green EU laws
  • India feels heat as pressure mounts to deliver climate target
  • Global meat demand ploughs up Brazil’s ‘underground forest’
  • Giant batteries connected to the grid: the future of energy storage?
  • Hyundai, Kia to triple range of green cars by 2020

Diet’s effects on emissions give food for thought

American researchers confirm that a shift to vegetarian, Mediterranean or fish-based diets would cut greenhouse gases, conserve forests and savannah, and have a big impact on obesity-linked health problems.

Designer dumps leather and heads for greener pastures

An eco-conscious Kiwi designer is saying goodbye to leather.

Australia’s green building review adds more uncertainty

Australia’s Commercial Building Disclosure programme is the latest federal environmental policy to be placed under review.

Spot NZUs close week at $4.35

NZUs traded $4.35 on Friday with reasonable volumes traded, OMFinancial reports.

Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

Carbon News 10/11/14: Mighty River to push EVs Gareth Renowden Nov 10

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How Mighty River is switching on to the new economy


Generator Mighty River Power is claiming a stake in the new economy, pushing for New Zealand’s car fleet to go electric and indicating that it will move into the water business. The company is expected to shortly announce joint ventures with companies operating large vehicle fleets and car-parking businesses. Chief executive Fraser Whineray has set the scene by telling the annual shareholders’ meeting that New Zealand has a “stunning opportunity” to adopt electric vehicles on a large scale.

Carbon units traffic slows to 3m trickle


Just 3.4 million carbon units passed through the New Zealand Emissions Units Register last month.

Trustpower’s Aussie wind farm breezes along


The second stage of Kiwi company Trustpower’s project to build South Australia’s largest wind farm has been launched, ahead of time and under budget.

Climate change will send pollen count soaring


Scientists have identified a new hazard that will arrive as a result of climate change: a huge increase in hay fever and pollen allergies.

Election rout blow to US climate change role


The role of the United States in confronting the global climate crisis has been cast into serious doubt after an election that stacked the deck in Congress in favour of fossil fuel industries.

Environment another casualty of war, says UN


The environment has long been a “silent casualty of war, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday as he warned that the fast-changing dynamic of conflict required solutions to support peace and sustainable development.

On the web: news from the world of carbon

  • Why the climate movement needs to get confrontational
  • Govt bid to strip Tasmanian forests of world heritage cover ‘disappointing’
  • The world’s 10 biggest tidal power projects
  • Energy storage slam dunk: Graphene + carbon canotubes + li-ion EV batteries
  • NASA rolls out enhanced, mobile-friendly climate site

India wants to double coal production


The man responsible for maintaining India’s power supply says he wants the country’s coal production to double within the next five years.

Why warnings on climate spark aggressive denials


If you don’t like the message on climate change, it seems that the answer is to shoot the messenger.

Big business sounds water warning bells


Two-thirds of the world’s largest companies are reporting exposure to water risks, some of which have potential to limit growth, says the Carbon Disclosure Project.

EU plans power supergrid to boost renewables


An electricity supergrid is being planned to connect all 28 European Union countries and provide them with insurance against power blackouts.

Why Australia’s entire power sector should support target


There’s been much talk about how uncertainty over the future of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is affecting the renewable energy industry.

US drought shows why the price of water should rise


Last January, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency following projections of severe drought.

Social acceptance new key for today’s miners


A licence to dig is no longer enough for today’s mining and extractive companies. Stakeholder approval is progressively becoming a “must have” for mining companies around the globe — a requirement these companies widely acknowledge through what’s known as a “social licence to operate”.

NZUS close at $4.35


Carbon ended the week as it started, quietly and this will most likely continue, OMFinancial reports.

Special offer for Hot Topic readers: Carbon News has kindly agreed to offer Hot Topic readers personal (ie single user) subscriptions to their news service — and full access to the CN database of over 7,500 stories published since 2008 — at a substantial discount to normal pricing. Three month subs are $110 (code HT3), six month subs $200 (code HT6), and full year subs $360 (code HT12) – a saving of $140 on standard pricing. If you want to take advantage of these prices, register at Carbon News and enter the relevant code when signing up. This offer will expire at the end of the year.

Climate documentary Thin Ice raising money for US broadcast Gareth Renowden Nov 10

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Thin Ice, the superb documentary about climate science and scientists filmed and produced by New Zealand and British climate scientists, has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to finance a new edit of the film so that it can be shown on public TV in the US. From the Kickstarter page:

Why do we need help? The global screening on Earth Day, 2013, reached over 200 locations worldwide, and many others have seen it since. Now we have a chance to re-edit the film for screening on American Public Television – if we can raise the NZ$27,500 (US$22,000) in 30 days needed for the re-edit and promotion.

We want the film to be seen by as many people as possible on TV in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. We already have subtitles in 8 languages, so with the shortened film Thin Ice will be that much more accessible to schools and communities worldwide.

With 14 days to go, the project still needs to raise NZ$20,000, so if you can spare a few dollars go to Kickstarter, make a few climate scientists happy, and help to get this excellent film put in front of a wider audience.

Danger Dedekind! Heartbreak Ahead (still wrong, still digging, NZ still warming fast) Gareth Renowden Nov 05

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Over last weekend, my post criticising the new paper by Chris de Freitas, Manfred “Bob” Dedekind and Barry Brill that claims warming in New Zealand’s temperature records is only one third of that calculated by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) attracted a flurry of attempted ripostes at Richard Treadgold’s Climate Conversation blog. One — by Bob Dedekind — sets out to be a rebuttal of my original post. Sadly for Bob and his co-authors, he has only managed to dig himself into an even deeper hole.

For the sake of the record, therefore, I have taken the time and trouble to deal with each of his points in detail. The results of my researches do not make pretty reading for De Freitas, Dedekind, Brill, or the editorial team, reviewers and publishers of Environmental Modelling and Assessment.

Pal review

Dedekind kicks off his attempt to deal with my criticisms by repeating the silly claim — made on the basis of a very selective parsing of some emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in 2009 — that climate scientists had colluded to get an innocent Chris de Freitas fired from his position as an editor at Climate Research in 2003.

Unfortunately for Dedekind, the truth of the matter — extensively documented by John Mashey in his 2011 Pal Review document — is that de Freitas spent years abusing his position at the journal by ushering poor papers by his climate sceptic mates, notably Patrick Michaels, through to publication by subjecting them to weak or inadequate peer review. CdF’s behaviour eventually led to a mass resignation by other editors, and ultimately his own resignation. Here are the main points uncovered by Mashey’s diligent research:

  • From 1990 to 1996, Climate Research published no papers by any of the following sceptic “pals”:

    Sallie Baliunas, Robert Balling, John Christy, Robert Davis, David Douglass, Vincent Gray, Sherwood Idso, PJ Knappenberger, Ross McKitrick, Pat Michaels, Eric Posmentier, Arthur Robinson, Willie Soon, and Gerd-Rainer Weber.

  • de Freitas became an editor at CR in 1997 and then accepted 14 papers in the period up to 2003 from authors with whom he had close ties via US far right lobby groups and climate denial organisations.
  • Papers from the “pals” accounted for half of his editorial workload.
  • de Freitas acted as editor on seven papers by Patrick Michaels, half of Michaels’ publication record over the period. Mashey describes Michaels as “king of the pals”.
  • After de Freitas resigned his editorial role in 2003, publications from the pals stopped appearing in Climate Research.

Given de Freitas’ track record, it is unsurprising that I queried the peer review process at Environmental Modelling and Assessment. Dedekind may choose to live in a parallel universe where white is in fact black, but the rest of us will accept the colours we see at face value.

Source of 7SS

One of the straightforward falsehoods in dFDB 2014 that I pointed out in my original post is this, from the abstract:

Current New Zealand century-long climatology based on 1981 methods produces a trend of 0.91 °C per century. Our analysis, which uses updated measurement techniques and corrects for shelter-contaminated data, produces a trend of 0.28 °C per century.

Dedekind fulminates:

Suffice it to say that there is zero evidence to show that the pre-2010 7SS was ever based on a correct application of RS93, apart from the assertions of some at NIWA.

Let me pose a question. What does Dedekind think Rhoades and Salinger were doing in their 1993 paper? Indulging in a purely theoretical exercise? In fact, they developed their techniques by working on what became the Seven Station Series (7SS), and from 1992 onwards the 7SS was compiled using RS93 methods properly applied.

At least one of the authors of dFDB 2014 should be aware of that simple fact. During the discovery process before the High Court proceedings, Barry Brill and Vincent Gray examined a set of storage boxes at NIWA — dubbed the “Salinger recall storage boxes” — that contained (amongst other things) all of Jim Salinger’s original calculations for the 1992 reworking of the 7SS.

Perhaps Brill and Gray didn’t look at Salinger’s calculations, or if they did, didn’t realise what they showed.

Two other critical references that prove that between 1992 and 2009 the 7SS was based on RS93 properly applied, are given below in the section on “Periods for comparison”.

Ignoring NIWA’s work

Here Dedekind goes completely off the rails:

Difficult to untangle the confusion apparent on this one. Firstly, the current 7SS uses the old technique, based on Salinger’s 1981 thesis. We applied a new technique (RS93) to it for the first time.

As I’ve just shown, that simply isn’t true, and Dedekind and his co-authors should be aware of that fact because they were given access to the “Salinger recall storage boxes” and should have read and understood the papers referring to the RS93 method’s application to the 7SS post 1992.

Further proof that dFDB 2014’s authors should have known that the latest 7SS does not use “old” techniques comes from the “Technical Notes” behind each station report prepared by NIWA’s scientists. These are not secret, but they are very technical and NIWA has judged them not suitable for putting on its website — but they were all supplied to Barry Brill in July 20111. The Technical Notes are basically just tables of intermediate calculations with very little contextual explanation, but they show without any doubt that:

  • Shifts to maximum and minimum temperatures were calculated by NIWA for the 2010 Review;
  • The statistical significance of all shifts was calculated too. The significance tests were done relative to each comparison (reference) site, rather than evaluating an overall significance level after combining sites as RS93 did.

The Technical Notes were also supplied to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology climate team in 2010 as part of the peer review process and BOM’s scientists would have had no trouble understanding them. The same may not be true for the authors of dFDB 2014.

Dedekind should, therefore, be well aware that NIWA did not use “old” techniques for the new 7SS, and that they calculated adjustments for maximum and minimum temperatures as well as mean temperatures. If Dedekind has not seen these Technical Notes, then he should ask his co-author Barry Brill why these inconvenient truths were withheld from him.

Workings or SI

I shall bow to the views of Steve McIntyre (yes, that Steve) at Bishop Hill2 on dFDB 2014’s lacklustre support for anyone wishing to reproduce their results:

I strongly recommend that the authors provide turnkey code showing their results.

[…]

Some readers, if not most readers, are only semi-interested in the controversy, but insufficiently interested to try to code the results and figure out how to access the data from NIWA. The authors should place the NIWA versions as used in their own FTP location and provide the code by which they obtained their results. The advantage of placing the code online is that interested readers can see exactly what was done without having to parse and interpret the methodology in the article – though clear methodology is equally important in seeing what was done.

Nor is it a sufficient reply for the authors to complain about their own prior mistreatment by NIWA. Most of the climate community will be sympathetic to NIWA and unsympathetic to the authors. So they need to go the extra mile.

Quite so. Extraordinary claims — and lets be clear, dFDB 2014’s assertion that warming in NZ is one third of that previously calculated by experts is an extraordinary claim — require extraordinary proof.

Periods for comparison

Dedekind makes the following statements:

Any assertion that makes the claim that RS93 does not use one or two year periods is false. Any assertion that RS93 uses four year periods is false.

Of course, it’s more than likely that Gareth’s vision is somewhat blurry on this point. Perhaps he is confused whether it’s two years before and after a change or four years in total? Who knows? But if he wants to wriggle out via that tunnel, then he should be aware that he would be confirming the two-year approach.

As for the claim that no professional working in the field would use a shorter period, then is Gareth now claiming that Dr Jim Salinger (the co-author of RS93) is not a professional, since he clearly uses it in section 2.4 of RS93? What about Dr David Rhoades? Should we write and tell them that?

Just to be clear, when I said in the original post that the use of one or two year periods is not adequate, I was using the RS93 terminology of k=1 and k=2; that is, k=2 means 2 years before and after a site change (so 4 years in total, but a 2-year difference series which is tested for significance against another 2-year difference series).

Dedekind claims that NIWA never considered k=4. He is wrong, and should know he is wrong, because he has certainly had sight of the following documents:

  • Page 3 in the 1992 NZ Met Service Salinger et al report (single page scan here). The final paragraph clearly states k=2 and k=4 were used. The full paper (pdf here) was available to the NZCSET, but was not amongst the “exhibits” supplied to support their evidence to the High Court. One wonders why not…?
  • Top of page 1508 in Peterson et al 1998: “Homogeneity adjustments of in situ atmospheric climate data: a review”, International J. Climatology, 18: 1493-1517 (pdf here). Clearly states k=1, 2 and 4 were considered. The paper is cited in dFDB 2014. Perhaps the authors didn’t read it.

Direct evidence that calculations based on k=4 were made is also in the “Salinger recall storage boxes” inspected by Brill and Gray.

Minimum and maximum temperatures

As I pointed out in my original post, dFDB 2014’s failure to consider maximum and minimum temperature adjustments is the paper’s most critical flaw. Dedekind — as is becoming all too clear — is simply wrong when he states:

If this is the most critical flaw in our analysis, then why, in NIWA’s Review of the 7SS, did they not do this? Why did they use the mean, as we did? We followed their lead, after all.

By the way, nothing in anything we’ve done precludes NIWA doing their own RS93 analysis. Why have they not done this yet?

As I’ve already shown above Dedekind should be aware that NIWA did consider max and min temperatures — which is essential if you are only going to apply adjustments if they achieve statistical significance. The evidence is there in the Technical Notes supplied to his co-author Barry Brill two years before dFDB 2014 was submitted to EMA. It’s even in the 7SS Review document NIWA produced explaining the process they used to create the latest 7SS. The Review may emphasise the mean temperature shifts but NIWA obviously had to have calculated the max and min shifts for the Review to mention them at all. Mullan (2012) also considers max and min temperatures when applying RS93, and shows why it is important to do so.

Missing data

Dedekind takes issue with my comments on his infilling of missing temperature data for May 1920 in Masterton:

We use the average anomaly from surrounding reference sites to calculate our missing anomaly. So if Gareth wants to criticise our paper’s technique, he criticises NIWA at the same time.

Estimating anomalies is certainly the correct approach in place of using climatology. But it doesn’t appear Dedekind has done this for Masterton in dFDB 2014. Table 3 in the paper shows no adjustment made for the 1920 site move, but if you apply RS93 k=2 — their preferred method — this would change to -0.3ºC and have to be applied because it meets their statistical significance test. Unfortunately this would lead to a doubling of the current NZCSC trend for Masterton and therefore might not be ideologically acceptable.

The 11SS

Dedekind tries hand wave away the 11SS as having been “thoroughly debunked elsewhere”, but doesn’t link to any debunking. The fact is that the raw station data from rural sites with long records that require no adjustments show strong warming. In other words, the warming seen in the 7SS is not an artefact of site changes or urban warming. That is an important matter, and should have been addressed in dFDB 2014.

Mullan 2012

In my original post, I noted that Brett Mullan’s 2012 paper Applying the Rhoades and Salinger Method to New Zealand’s “Seven Stations” Temperature series (Weather & Climate, 32(1), 24-38) deals with the correct application of the methodology described in Rhoades and Salinger’s 1993 paper. It is not cited in dFDB 2014 — itself a sign of shoddy scholarship in a paper claiming to make the first use of that methodology with respect to the 7SS. In his attempted rebuttal to my post Dedekind makes this odd statement:

“Mullan (2012) is far from a refutation of RS93.”

Well, no, since it is entirely about the proper application of Rhoades and Salinger’s methodology — but it is a direct problem for what dFDB 2014 calls RS93 — a misapplication of that methodology.

At the very least, dFDB 2014 should have addressed the existence of Mullan’s paper, and explained why the application of RS93 in that paper is not preferable to their interpretation of it. Making no reference to the paper is a sign of either not knowing the basic literature of the field in which you are attempting to publish (one of academe’s greatest sins), or it’s a sign of trying to avoid uncomfortable issues. In either case, it is a clear example of how the peer review process at EMA failed. Knowledgeable reviewers would have insisted that the authors address the issues raised in Mullan 2012.

Sea surface temperatures (SST)

Dedekind makes much of the fact that the paper does refer to one paper on SSTs around New Zealand — but skips over the essential point: that the SST evidence confirms that warming is occurring faster than they calculate. A hand wave from the authors to “there is low confidence in the data in the crucial pre-1949 period” is hardly a serious argument — especially given the strong warming shown in the raw station data, and corroborating warming seen on offshore islands and in the loss of ice in the Southern Alps.

Parting shot

Dedekind closes with a little snipe at me for pointing out that he had no publication record. Perhaps I should have added “relevant” or “in the field” to the sentence in my original post, but in making an appraisal of his expertise I was greatly assisted by Justice Venning’s judgement on the matter in NIWA v Cranks:

Mr Dedekind’s general expertise in basic statistical techniques does not extend to any particular specialised experience or qualifications in the specific field of applying statistical techniques in the field of climate science. To that extent, where Mr Dedekind purports to comment or give opinions as to NIWA’s application of statistical techniques in those fields, his evidence is of little assistance to the Court.

Dedekind and Treadgold’s reaction to my criticism of dFDB 2014 — and their whole approach to NIWA and the NZ temperature record — demonstrates just how divorced from reality the climate crank position has become over the five years of their attack on NIWA. Their whole campaign only makes sense in a strange world where New Zealand’s climate scientists have been conspiring to create the impression of warming where none exists. Remember Treadgold’s impassioned bleat when he launched their effort in November 2009?

We have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emissions of CO2—it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.

Now that dFDB 2014 has been published, and the NZCSC’s partial and political misapplication of climate statistics has been revealed, the enormous mismatch between the little fantasy world they’ve lived in for the last five years and the harsh reality of a world that’s warming fast has become all too obvious. Such is the nature of cognitive dissonance, however, that we cannot expect reason to prevail in their camp. The deluded will continue in their delusion, and continue to try to twist the world to match their own expectations. And they will continue to fail, miserably.

[The Marvelettes, Danger! Heartbreak Dead Ahead.]

  1. Hint: If anyone wants copies of these Technical Notes, all they have to do is ask. If you want them quickly, ask a NIWA climate scientist, and don’t mention the Official Information Act. I asked, and as an example you can download the Notes for the Dunedin adjustments here [File updated 9-30am, 6/11 with improved formatting.]. If you don’t mind waiting, then ask for them under the OIA — the request will go straight to the lawyers (it’s the legal requirement for Crown Research Institutes).
  2. Comment on Nov 2, 2014 at 12:58 PM.

Carbon News 3/11/14: NZ fails as UN wails Gareth Renowden Nov 04

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Our emissions plan hopeless, says renowned academic

New Zealand has no chance of meeting its 2020 emissions reduction target under current policies, says a leading scientist involved in the latest IPCC report. Professor Ralph Sims, of Massey University, is recognised around the world for his expertise on climate change and renewable energy, but is never consulted by our own Government.

Leaders must act, says UN after dire climate report

If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems, says a United Nations report. Echoing the dire warning, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2degC “will slip away within the next decade”.

What the politicians said …

All three of New Zealand’s major political parties say that the IPCC’s latest call on climate change is important.

Climate refugees? we’ll think of something …

New Zealand still has no plan to help climate change refugees — despite acknowledging that many Pacific Islands people might need to be relocated.

State miner rethinks environment liabilities

The State coal-miner says its future environmental liabilities are not as great as it thought.

At last, there’s a glimpse of an ETS in Australia

With the passage of the Emissions Reduction Fund through the Senate last week, Australia’s federal government has taken a step toward achieving the country’s minimum target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020.

Tararua turbines set power-output record

Two New Zealand wind turbines have set a world record for output.

Southern winery wins green award … again

A Marlborough winery that uses miniature sheep to tidy around its vines has won another sustainability award.

Business network names sustainability finalists

Finalists for this year’s Sustainable Business Network Awards have been named.

Denmark wants to be coal-free by 2025

Denmark is looking into how the country can stop using coal as an energy supply by 2025, says Climate and Energy Minister Rasmus Helveg Pesen.

Actually, a high oil price might be a good thing for the world

Oil prices have fallen dramatically since August — and, rather counter-intuitively, this could be a bad thing.

On the web: we can continue to burn coal, says Australia

  • Germany may cut coal-fired energy to protect climate
  • Banks invest record €66bn in coal sector
  • Airport solar farm will be world’s largest
  • Scotland to open remanufacturing hub to cash in on waste

Booming cities need sustainable urban planning

Growing urban areas will need better planned and better managed environments or risk exacerbating negative trends, the United Nations has warned.

China-US links could spark emissions breakthrough

Tentative steps have been taken by China and the United States towards co-operating on climate change — mainly focusing on relatively modest technological schemes connected with more efficient and less polluting power generation.

Insurance industry sleeps through climate alarm calls

Insurance is all about assessing risk, so you might expect companies in the sector to be intimately involved with one of the most potent risks facing the world — the possibility of catastrophic climate change.

Salt-poisoning a growing threat to crops

Salt is poisoning around 2000 hectares of irrigated farm land every day — and has been doing so for the past 20 years, according to new research.

Why uncontrolled climate change might limit growth

By Jack Pezzey. “But who do you think’s right, Prof? The optimists or the pessimists?” At the end of my sustainability economics course in 2007, students were challenging me to end 20 years of professional fence-sitting.

Business leaders praise EU emissions deal

A group of influential business leaders is welcoming Europe’s new climate and energy deal.

NZUs hold

NZUs traded back to $4.35 on Friday on about 35k, OMFinancial reports.

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IPCC AR5 completed: science has spoken – cut deep, cut soon Gareth Renowden Nov 03

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The IPCC’s Fifth Report process reached its climax in Copenhagen yesterday with the release of the final “synthesis” report (download here), which pulls together all the strands from the three working group reports on the physical science (Working Group 1), climate impacts (WG2) and how to go about dealing with the problem (WG3). Launching the report, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon was blunt:

“Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in their message. Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.”

Given that it’s based entirely on the work done for the underlying reports, there are no surprises the synthesis report for anyone who has been following climate news over the last year, but what is striking is the emphasis on the need for rapid and deep cuts in fossil fuel emissions – and a corresponding steep increase in investment in renewable energy sources. Ban Ki-Moon emphasised the point in a comment aimed at investors:

“Please reduce your investments in the coal- and fossil fuel-based economy and [move] to renewable energy.”

Writing in the Guardian, Bill McKibben notes an increase in the urgency of the language being used:

This week, with the release of their new synthesis report, [scientists] are trying the words “severe, widespread, and irreversible” to describe the effects of climate change – which for scientists, conservative by nature, falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse plus random beheadings plus Ebola. It’s hard to imagine how they will up the language in time for the next big global confab in Paris.

The Guardian’s coverage is – as always – exemplary. In addition to Damian Carrington’s news report, they also give good graph. See also the BBC, and Stuff – who take the AP coverage.

New Zealand’s climate change minister Tim Groser issued a press release to welcome the report:

It is the best scientific assessment of climate issues available. I’m delighted that New Zealand scientists have contributed to this body of knowledge.

If that’s really the case, why is Groser enacting policies which are currently pointing NZ towards a 50% increase in emissions instead of deep cuts? Perhaps he should be listening to Ban Ki-moon when he says “”There is a myth that climate action will cost heavily, but inaction will cost much more.”

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