Podcast: Science on trial

By Peter Griffin 20/07/2012 65


On the Sciblogs podcast this week, we head to the High Court where climate sceptics have this week been seeking a judicial review of NIWA’s climate records. We catch up with Sciblogger Gareth Renowden about the case and we talk to former NIWA climate scientist Jim Renwick about the current state of climate science and what it is telling us about the extent of warming on a global scale.

We also talk to Dr Melanie Massaro about her paper Trapped in the postdoctoral void and her concern at what she considers to be an oversupply of doctoral students in the New Zealand education system.

Subscribe to the Sciblogs podcast via iTunes or Stitcher.com – or just stream it straight from the site here!

Click below to listen to the podcast:

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Show notes

Hot Topic: When asses go to court

Open Parachute: Scepticism, denial and the high court

NZ Herald: Global warming sceptics accuse NIWA over temperature records

Dominion Post: Wellington’s climate record shows warming trend

James Renwick’s profile

NZ Herald: Climate change slow but real phenomenon

James Renwick’s Victoria lecture

Melanie Massaro’s homepage

Melanie Massaro’s paper will be published at www.scientists.org.nz


65 Responses to “Podcast: Science on trial”

  • Because the podcast is about providing commentary on science-related issues, so people commenting on the news rather than the news makers themselves (though we do interview scientists about their research). I think Gareth Renowden did a pretty thorough job summing up the issues, don’t you think?

  • Peter, I think you did an excellent job with the podcast. Gareth actually presented a surprisingly objective assessment of the case and it’s history – acknowledging that the judgement must fall back on legal principles rather than scientific ones.

    Andy should not be unhappy with that. As for the viewpoint if that strange group behind the case – Andy is well aware that Treadgold’s blog is providing wall to wall coverage of that viewpoint. And nothing else. It’s just as well he was able to find a source of more objective information here.

  • Andy, there was no statistical analysis in Treadgold’s first report. He in fact denied that any adjustments were required – a little statistical analysis would have shown him wrong. He in fact now admits that he doesn’t understand statistics. (There is an implicit admission that their first report was wrong as critics said – implicit in that they now admit the need for adjustments but he still won’t back away from his first report).

    Treadgold’s blog provides extensive denier coverage – not at all objective, not at all complete but always sneering at the science.

    I thought this podcast actually provided a good overall coverage if the factors involved. You won’t get that from Treadgold.

  • I agree with Andy. Let’s hear both sides of the story…the female interviewer of Renwick was totally unquestioning of his amazing comments (eg. 4 degrees warming likely this century!). To have any respect and credibility this site needs to be balanced and present both sides of contentious issues like this fairly.

    The climate skeptics don’t deny warming; just that it’s due to man’s influence. They don’t deny that CO2 has increased…just that it’s having a serious and negative impact.

    The warming started in the 1850’s at the end of the Little Ice Age and that’s when glaciers started to retreat, oceans began to warm, CO2 started coming out of solution in these warming oceans, etc. There has been no increase in these trends since the massive post war industrialisation when fossil fuel use really took off.

    The role of natural things like the sun and our orbital parameters are probably much more important than anything we do.

  • Alistair claimed: “The climate skeptics don’t deny warming; just that it’s due to man’s influence. They don’t deny that CO2 has increased…just that it’s having a serious and negative impact.”

    This isn’t what the court case is about. They’re arguing the data which would go counter to your previous statement.

    This doesn’t change the fact that they’re doing it wrong.

    The whole “both sides of the story” doesn’t apply here. This is science. If they’re disagree they should publish and sway the consensus of experts in the field with their data, models, statistics and convincing arguments.

    They way they’re going about this though suggests they have none of these.

  • I believe that the coalition may still publish their analysis in the peer-reviewed literature.

    However, the analysis of the 7SS is NOT in the peer-reviewed literature. You can read more of the details of the case at the link I provided above.

    I agree with Alastair’s comment above. Four degrees of warming this century looks pretty unlikely at this stage, especially as we have yet to see ANY warming worthy of note this century according to HadCrut3.

  • What I meant above is that NIWAs work is not peer-reviewed. I don’t see why taxpayer funded science that is not peer-reviewed should be accepted as fact and challenges to that needs to be via the peer-review process.

  • @Ken said “Andy, there was no statistical analysis in Treadgold’s first report.”

    This is irrelevant to the current case. The latest work had an interpretation of the Rhoades and Salinger methodology that returned a figure for 20th Century warming that was 1/3 of the NIWA interpretation.

    Is it not important to get these figures right? Regional climate models and paleoclimatic reconstructions (such as the withdrawn Gergis et al “Hockey Stick” paper) use these figures for calibration.

  • Andy,

    Checking up on the peer-reviewedness of NIWAs stuff now, but the first step in peer review is the publishing and they’ve definitely done that.

    You still haven’t addressed the abhorrent approach NZCSE are handling this though. Or do you support science via the courtroom?

  • @Gold.
    Why do you find this abhorrent ?

    The claim is that NIWA have not followed international best practice.

    Why should publicly funded organisations be above scrutiny?

    I believe anyone that I am paying for via my taxes should be subject to any form of scrutiny or challenge, and that includes legal if necessary.

  • Oh and by the way, I object as a taxpayer who wishes to challenge how my tax is being spent being referred to as an “ass”, “denier”, “crank” etc and I also object to those names being regurgitated by taxpayer funded organisations such as the Science Media Centre.

  • Andy, sorry but now you are really living up to the self-ascribed “ass” label. How about sticking to the issue which is science being adjudicated in court?

  • @Andy, I find it abhorrent because it’s a huge waste of taxpayers money. Science isn’t determined in the courtroom. If NZSCE have issues with what NIWA have done they should get the raw data (Yes, it’s available) and run the number themselves and publish their findings.

    The *only* reason they’re fighting this in the courtroom is because they know they don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the actual science.

    You say that “The claim is that NIWA have not followed international best practice.” Please provide citations for what *is* the international best practice. Because from what the respected climate science community appears to be saying they have actually followed that. If they hadn’t there would be a large vocal outcry from the community over the methods used.

    As it stands there’s only a few crank denialist groups being an ass over it.

    Did I get all the terms in there? 😉

  • @Gold,
    If you bothered to be a “sceptic” rather than a “sceptic in the pub”, you might find the time to follow the link I provided and take the time to understand the issues involved.

    Sorry if you find this a waste of taxpayers money.
    So far, “climate science” has cost us globally in the region of $100 billion dollars and with very little to show for it.

    NZers spend $500 million a year handing over our hard earned money to corporate forestry owners and energy companies via the ETS which our Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman tells us is a “gesture”

    Not one of your champagne socialist friends congratulating each other over a pint of the finest boutique beer is prepared to challenge any of this in case it “offends” someone.

    Get used to it guys, the times are a changing.

  • You are right about one thing Andy… the times are changing, as is the climate, which makes the efforts of the members of the CSC, those seeking to maintain the status quo, seem rather ill-conceived at best… and something much more sinister at worst.

  • Nice debate going, your right ” The courtroom is not where science happens.”
    But I suppose it’s all about funding and that is politics and not science.
    Science is not a totalitarian view, it is like looking at a point from a circle 365 degrees, ie there are many different ways of describing an event. No one is 100 % correct and sometimes we have to be flexible and admit that sometimes we aren’t right. The future of our species is what the big picture is.

  • Andy – would you like to comment on the fact that the 11 station series, where there are no adjustments because the thermometer has never been moved, shows the same rate of temperature rise per century as the adjusted 7 station series.

  • @Andy, found it.

    http://cliflo.niwa.co.nz/

    The raw data is available and it is available for free. So the NZCSE has no excuse for not performing the analysis themselves and publishing it. This is the approach that they should have taken rather than wasting tax payers money by taking this to the courts.

    This is the issue that I have with the NZCSE. The whole courtroom science thing. Their refusal to publish and back up their issues with raw data. This is also the thing that you’ve not addressed yet.

    @Andy said: If you bothered to be a “sceptic” rather than a “sceptic in the pub”, you might find the time to follow the link I provided and take the time to understand the issues involved.

    I did start reading it. It actually sounded whiny and failed to make any real points. At least as far as I read it.

    I reached the point where where the following claim was made:
    “We showed that using the internationally-accepted methods (i.e., RS93) reduced the 20th century warming by about two-thirds, down to about 0.26°C/century instead of NIWA’s 0.91°C/century.”

    Not knowing anything about RS93 I looked it up. After all, if it’s an internationally accepted method it aught to be published somewhere. The only references to it with respect to climate science at all are from the NZCSE and when searching for it with respect to data modelling the only thing that shows up is a reference in a report titled “Identifying the requirement for history of time-varying objects during an object-oriented analysis” by L.C. Valet & S.A. Roberts. In this report it was one of 18 models referenced.

    Given the lack of credibility of the claim it was at this point that I stopped reading.

    So yeah… Maybe you aught to try Skeptics in the Pub instead of just being a sceptic. We tend to do our research.

    @Andy said: Sorry if you find this a waste of taxpayers money.

    Sorry? This feels insincere to me.

    @Andy said: So far, “climate science” has cost us globally in the region of $100 billion dollars and with very little to show for it.

    NZers spend $500 million a year handing over our hard earned money to corporate forestry owners and energy companies via the ETS which our Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman tells us is a “gesture”

    I can’t help but be reminded of this:

    (and just in case the link/image above are filtered by the comment system: http://greenmonk.net/2010/01/07/what-if-we-create-a-better-world-for-nothing/ )

    @Andy said: “Not one of your champagne socialist friends congratulating each other over a pint of the finest boutique beer is prepared to challenge any of this in case it “offends” someone.

    Actually, we challenge things all the time. Especially our own position on things. We’re not climate scientists. We don’t have the skillset to reach these conclusions. But we can read the literature. That’s why we back the scientific consensus on many issues. If the NZCSE had any valid points and participated in the scientific process they’d be way more respected than they are at the moment.

    I’d also like to point out that the NZCSE doesn’t appear to have any climate scientists on their staff/board/side/whatever. Yet another reason to not take them seriously and actually question their motives.

    @Andy said: Get used to it guys, the times are a changing.”

    Agreed. The current scientific consensus says they’re warming.

  • @Derek Symes said: Nice debate going, your right ” The courtroom is not where science happens.” But I suppose it’s all about funding and that is politics and not science.

    Actually, it not. I’m not saying that that isn’t a consideration, but this particular conversation isn’t about that. It’s about one group attempting science in the courtroom because they either have no idea how science works or they have no science that actually backs their position.

    If they were genuinely concerned about taxpayer money they’d apply for funding (which they already have from a large climate denial think tank in the US) and publish their own analysis themselves. If their arguments and models stand up to scrutiny by their peers they’d be accepted as the best representation of how things are.

    Instead they run this through the courts forcing the NZ taxpayer to foot the bill.

  • Would I care to comment on the 11SS?

    No I wouldn’t. Follow the link I provided. There is lots of discussion on the 11SS over there.

  • @Gold (@unifex) you say:-

    “The raw data is available and it is available for free. So the NZCSE has no excuse for not performing the analysis themselves and publishing it”

    NSCSET used the same CliFlo data for their ‘Statistical Audit’ that NIWA used to compile the composite series. The issue is not the data but the respective applications of R&S93 for step change adjustments. NIWA’s application was an aberration of R&S93, NZCSET’s application was stringent and to this NIWA oddly objects.

    NIWA’s ‘Report on the ‘Review on the Review’ was not published in any journal or suchlike and NZCSET’s ‘Statistical Audit’ (reviewed by 3 professional statisticians) follows the form of the NIWA report so there was no necessity to publish in a recognized journal (they may yet do so). Also the primary purpose of the ‘Statistical Audit’ was for reasons of legal adjudication so there was no need to publish at all, anywhere in order for it to be presented as evidence.

    “This is the approach that they should have taken rather than wasting tax payers money by taking this to the courts”

    You and many others may be surprised by the scope and outcome of the judges opinion in that case. Have you considered the range of possible outcomes wrt to the SOC? I have, one of those is this scenario (as per High Court Rules regarding judgments): The NiWA 7SS does not get set aside (as the NZCSET seeks) but the judge requires qualification of it in terms of NIWA’s interpretation and application of R&S93, NZCSC’s ‘Statistical Audit’ gets cited by the judge as arriving at a different result using a more stringent interpretation and application of R&S93.

    NIWA’s ‘Report on the Review’ already has 3 citations even though it was not published in any journal or suchlike and the NZCSET ‘Statistiacal Audit’ is no different in form. Therefore, if the judge finds that the NZCSET series has validity by virtue of the audit and the review of that by three professional statisticians and cites the ‘Statistical Audit’ in his opinion (judgment), then BOTH temperature series will have equal standing and BOTH (Review and Audit) will have been cited and it will be up to the user to select from interpretation and application of R&S93.

  • @Andy, the sum total mention of the eleven station series is a single paragraph replicated here;

    “Note that the Eleven-Station Series was issued in 2009 solely to counter the Coalition’s paper, “Are we feeling warmer yet,” published on November 25, 2009. The hastily-prepared 11SS appeared just eight days later in rebuttal, but is still on the NIWA website as part of ‘the New Zealand Temperature Record.’”

    So, lets examine this;
    “Note that the Eleven-Station Series was issued in 2009 solely to counter the Coalition’s paper, “Are we feeling warmer yet,” published on November 25, 2009.”

    This doesn’t refute the validity of the it. The NZCSC complain about the results so more are released from a series where the data doesn’t need to be corrected for changes in the stations and this is the response? This was where things started sounding whiny (mentioned earlier.)

    “The hastily-prepared 11SS appeared just eight days later in rebuttal, but is still on the NIWA website as part of ‘the New Zealand Temperature Record.’”

    Hastily-prepared? Given the lack of correction required, and the validation, checking and double checking that would have gone with it it’s hardly surprising that it appeared faster than the initial round. Though, again, it doesn’t invalidate what the data shows.

    I would hardly call this “lots of discussion” and none of it addresses any issues with the series. I’m not about to go trawling though the whole site looking for the nugget of information that addresses the Eleven Station Series. Mainly because the NZCSC are not a reliable source of information. If they were, they would publish their analysis like any respectable scientific organisation.

    If you provide a specific link to an analysis of the Eleven Station Series that points out where it goes wrong and why it misinterprets the data then I’ll read that.

  • @Richard C wrote: NSCSET used the same CliFlo data for their ‘Statistical Audit’ that NIWA used to compile the composite series. The issue is not the data but the respective applications of R&S93 for step change adjustments. NIWA’s application was an aberration of R&S93, NZCSET’s application was stringent and to this NIWA oddly objects.

    Can you provide a link to this please.

  • @Richard C: it doesn’t really matter if it’s in a peer-reviewed journal or not. Peer-review gives it a lot more credibility and gets it in peoples faces easier. The important thing here is that it’s out there in the public sphere where it can be reviewed and picked over. Peer-review by the blogosphere can be a lot harsher than the limited exposure something may experience in a journal environment.

  • Gold (@unifex)

    What on earth are you on about? It is NSCSC’s right and prerogative to seek a judiciary ruling from evidence presented. One of the most important pieces of that evidence is the peer-reviewed paper R&S93. NZCSET’s claim is that they could not reproduce NIWA’s series using the methodology of R&S93 (that NIWA agreed to) when rigourously applied

    Neither NIWA’s ‘Report on the Review’ nor NZCSET’s ‘Statistical Audit’ were peer-reviewed or published in the journalistic sense.

    NIWA’s report has reviewed by BOM but it was NOT a technical review as they (BOM) clearly state in their accompanying letter of their results to NIWA.

    NZCSET’s audit addressed NIWA’s report and was in turn reviewed by 3 professional statisticians i.e. it WAS a technical audit.

    “Can you provide a link to this please” ?

    Yes here:-

    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=14&Itemid=47

    Start reading. I suggest that Affidavit of Bob Dedekind will at least acquaint you with the statistical issues:-

    http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/dedekind%20affidavit%20scan.pdf

  • Alastair – you demand to hear “both sides of the story.” What, the anti-science as well as the science?

    Anyway, I notice you commenting on Treadgold’s blog – but I don’t notice you putting that request to him. He is notorius for misrepresenting the science. What about asking him to give space to a real climate scientist, for example?

    Or are you happy with the way things are already in that internet silo?

  • Hi Ken,

    I don’t know what blog your refer to (Treadgold)…maybe there are 2 Alastairs…is the spelling the same? I’m Alastair Brickell in Whitianga. I don’t generally comment on blogs as they seem all too often (especially on climate science issues) to degenerate into name calling and get nowhere…hopefully Peter will keep this one sensible, balanced and useful.

    No, I don’t need the anti-science side ( although I’m not quite sure to whom you are referring) but there is some debate about how the science is being presented and what conclusions people are drawing from it, especially those with vested interests and money/jobs at stake. Political spin on science is never helpful.

    I don’t think the debate needs to be confined to climate scientists (if that’s what you’re inferring). I think it also benefits from input from those who can look further into the past than climate scientists to see the big picture…certainly geologists and astronomers (amongst others) have that perspective and can provide useful information. This is a tremendously complicated issue, both scientifically and morally, and needs thoughtful input from everyone to help us make sense of a lot of conflicting evidence (and individual agendas on both sides).

    I get the impression that there is an attempt by some to portray the climate sceptics as a bunch of Exxon supported nuts. In fact they include a lot of highly qualified scientists from a range of disciplines who have a great deal to contribute after doing extensive reading and thinking about this issue.

    Climate sceptics tend to include a lot of retired people as they have the time to spend on it and also do not have any pressure on their careers to toe the party line. They interpret the scientific findings in a different way to some and that is where the debate originates…it is not between science and anti-science and that is one reason why the term “deniers” is so offensive to many.

  • Richard C,

    You wrote “It is NSCSC’s right and prerogative to seek a judiciary ruling from evidence presented.”

    Could you explain why you think this?

    My emphasis is added as I’m taking it that by ‘evidence’, you mean ‘scientific evidence’ – you seem to be suggesting that because scientific evidence is involved they have a “right and prerogative to seek a judiciary ruling” on it.

    Science isn’t decided in courts and I believe I’d be right in saying that scientific matters themselves can’t be decided in courts. That would suggest that some other issue has been put forward in lieu of the science itself. (I’m not familiar with the climate change fuss, just making a general point.)

  • Andy wrote “No I wouldn’t. Follow the link I provided. There is lots of discussion on the 11SS over there”

    Rubbish. The only reference is “The hastily-prepared 11SS appeared just eight days later in rebuttal, but is still on the NIWA website as part of ‘the New Zealand Temperature Record.”

    Instead of NIWA being praised for being so prompt and responsive, they are criticised. The comment fails to mention the accuracy of the figures or the implications of them.

  • @Richard C said: “What on earth are you on about?”

    What I’m on about is that science is not and should not be determined in the courtroom. What I’m on about is that when it comes to the process of science NSCSC have no clue and are something of a laughing stock. Not due to the work they’ve done with the data but more due to the way they’re trying to get it accepted.

    Richard C said: “Start reading. I suggest that Affidavit of Bob Dedekind will at least acquaint you with the statistical issues:-
    http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/dedekind%20affidavit%20scan.pdf

    The affidavit does make it sound like there were some reasonable flaws in their analysis. So what was NIWA’s response to the claims made by Bob Dedekind?

  • @Alastair, I think @Ken Perrott is referring to @Andy, who is active in the CSC silo.

    @Alistair wrote: “there is some debate about how the science is being presented”

    Not nearly as much as you think. The general consensus when you step out of the denialist echo chamber is that among the scientific community this debate is on par with the anti-evolutionists.

    @Alistair wrote: “I don’t think the debate needs to be confined to climate scientists”

    Would you also recommend NASA and Space-X employ astrologers too? This is on par with the recommendation above. You may think that this reply is going too far, but that’s the point.

    @Alistair wrote: “I get the impression that there is an attempt by some to portray the climate sceptics as a bunch of Exxon supported nuts.”

    Not Exxon. This group is backed by the Heartland Institute. The paper trail is well known and established. I make no correction on the “nuts”. I accept your impression there.

  • Gold (@unifex)

    “What I’m on about is that science is not and should not be determined in the courtroom”

    It isn’t in NSCSET v NIWA, the application of peer-reviewed science is. Courts have considerable experience dealing with science e.g medical, pharma, automotive etc and statistics is one of those scientific issues so now judges have guidance e.g.

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence
    Second Edition
    Federal Judicial Center 2000

    http://www.fjc.gov/public/pdf.nsf/lookup/sciman00.pdf/$file/sciman00.pdf

    Quoting:-

    The first edition of the Reference Manual was published in 1994, at a time of heightened need for judicial awareness of scientific methods and reasoning created by the Supreme Court’s decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.3 Daubert assigned the trial judge a “gatekeeping responsibility” to make “a preliminary assessment of whether the reasoning or methodology underlying the testimony is scientifically valid and of whether that reasoning or methodology properly can be applied to the facts in issue.”

    This is exactly what is required in the judgment of NZCSET v NIWA. Relevent to the statistical issues is:-

    B. Varieties and Limits of Statistical Expertise
    Statistical expertise is not confined to those with degrees in statistics. Because
    statistical reasoning underlies all empirical research, researchers in many fields
    are exposed to statistical ideas. Experts with advanced degrees in the physical,
    medical, and social sciences—and some of the humanities—may receive formal
    training in statistics. Such specializations as biostatistics, epidemiology, econometrics, and psychometrics are primarily statistical, with an emphasis on methods
    and problems most important to the related substantive discipline. Individuals who specialize in using statistical methods—and whose professional careers demonstrate this orientation—are most likely to apply appropriate
    procedures and correctly interpret the results.

    [Relevant to Manfred Dedekind’s Affidavit]

    C. Individual Measurements
    1. Is the Measurement Process Reliable?
    There are two main aspects to the accuracy of measurements—reliability and validity. In science, “reliability” refers to reproducibility of results.59

    [NZCSET could’t reproduce NIWA’s 7SS using the agreed methodology]

    2. Is the Measurement Process Valid?
    Reliability is necessary, but not sufficient, to ensure accuracy. In addition to reliability, “validity” is needed.

    5. What Comparisons Are Made?
    Finally, there is the issue of which numbers to compare. Researchers sometimes choose among alternative comparisons. It may be worthwhile to ask why they chose the one they did. Would another comparison give a different view?

    [NIWA used remote sites for comparison, NZCSET used neighbouring sites as per R&S93]

    IV. What Inferences Can Be Drawn from the
    Data?
    The inferences that may be drawn from a study depend on the quality of the data and the design of the study. As discussed in section II, the data might not address the issue of interest, might be systematically in error, or might be difficult to interpret due to confounding.

    Also but not in dispute in NZCSET v NIWA:-

    C. Does a Graph Portray Data Fairly?
    Graphs are useful for revealing key characteristics of a batch of numbers, trends over time, and the relationships among variables.93
    1. How Are Trends Displayed?

    [the linear trend on NZT7 should not be used IMO – R squared values]

    So much for NZCSC being a “laughing stock”, there’s ample precedent.for legal challenges to statistical reports.

    Links:-

    Report on the Review of NIWA’s ‘Seven-Station’ Temperature Series

    http://www.niwa.co.nz/sites/default/files/import/attachments/Report-on-the-Review-of-NIWAas-Seven-Station-Temperature-Series_v3.pdf

    Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review

    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/docs/Statistical%20Audit%20of%20the%20NIWA%207-Station%20Review%20Aug%202011.pdf

    “So what was NIWA’s response to the claims made by Bob Dedekind?”

    NIWA’s SOD

    http://nzclimatescience.net/imagesPDFsstatement_of_defence.pdf

  • @Grant Jacobs

    With respect, I’m going to shout this very loud in the hope that the point gets through to more here than just Yourself:-

    THE SCIENCE IS ALREADY ESTABLISHED, IT IS NOT BEING CONTESTED.

    Central to the case is Rhoades and Salinger 1993, the methodology of which NIWA had previously agreed to BEFORE it’s review of the 7SS (see NZCSC links up-thread for SOC). If you look at ‘Statistical Review’ and Dedekind’s Affidavit (see link up-thread) you will see reference to that paper and about half a dozen others i.e. NZCSET’s case is supported by peer-reviewed science.

    You say:-

    “My emphasis is added as I’m taking it that by ‘evidence’, you mean ‘scientific evidence’”

    EXACTLY. that and all the other evidence presented (see NZCSC links up-thread).

    “you seem to be suggesting that because scientific evidence is involved they have a “right and prerogative to seek a judiciary ruling” on it”

    EXACTLY. See my response down-thread to Gold (@unifex) (in moderation at present), particularly, my annotations to quotes from ‘Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence.

    “Science isn’t decided in courts and I believe I’d be right in saying that scientific matters themselves can’t be decided in courts”

    EXACTLY. NZCSET is NOT seeking a decision on the science involved and it was even a prior agreement between NZCSET and NIWA that questions of science would not be raised because they would not be ruled on anyway by the High Court (or any court). As with say, the recent US EPA decision, it’s the validy (probably an appeal in the EPA case – 3 judges thought IPCC Assessment Reports were peer-reviewed) of the process that the court will rule on (see 2. Is the Measurement Process Valid? down-thread).

    “That would suggest that some other issue has been put forward”

    EXACTLY. It’s the application of peer-reviewed science (previously agreed upon by NIWA but they reneged on their word – professional integrity is another issue of SOC) that is being “put forward” as in any other case of this nature.

    in lieu of the science itself”

    NO, not in lieu because the science has already been established (as I stated at the outset) and agreed upon by both parties prior to NIWA’s review of the 7SS (see previous paragraph).

  • Richard,

    “Courts have considerable experience dealing with science e.g medical, pharma, automotive etc and statistics is one of those scientific issues so now judges have guidance” (etc.)

    – this is not courts judging science itself, it’s them using science or dealing in other matters than at some point refer to or draw upon science. Can you see the distinction? Judging the science itself is what people are referring to here. Courts don’t do that.

  • @Grant, apologies. I got the “down-thread” wrong (should be up-thread) I’m used to blogs with Reply nesting – forgot this one was just sequential but you should be able to figure it out.

  • My previous comment crossed over your reply.

    No need to shout. It’s rude and I and others here are not stupid. Best not to put your frustration on not communicating clearly to others, on others eh? Perhaps instead be grateful that I framed it in a way that let you clarify.

    I pointed out earlier I’m not familiar with climate change fuss and was dealing with the more general point. What you wrote read as you saying that science was being decided in courts; I asked—politely—if you could clarify. My use of in lieu was in reference to you seemingly talking about science being judged, but that it can’t be. Rather than be abrupt to me, consider that you weren’t making yourself clear and I was just politely asking for a clarification 😉

  • @Grant Jacobs

    “- this is not courts judging science itself, it’s them using science or dealing in other matters than at some point refer to or draw upon science”

    EXACTLY. NZCSET is NOT seeking a ruling on a question of science but on the application of agreed upon science and the High Court Rules bestow power on the Judge to rule on that.

    “Can you see the distinction?”

    I see the distinction very clearly.

    “Judging the science itself is what people are referring to here. Courts don’t do that””

    EXACTLY. “…people…here” don’t understand the case, NZCSET are NOT seeking a judgment on the science. I’ll shout this again:-

    THE SCIENCE IS ESTABLISHED, IT IS NOT BEING CONTESTED.

  • Does anyone know when the judge will come back with a ruling? All of this could be rendered academic…

  • @Peter Griffin

    “Does anyone know when the judge will come back with a ruling?”

    I think only the Judge knows the answer to that Peter, this is a complex case (hence its being heard in the High Court) so the ruling will be equally complex and time consuming I suspect.

    “All of this could be rendered academic”

    Yes exactly but its not wasted effort to get abreast of the actual issues. There’s been some incredibly ignorant commentary bandied about.

    Something to look out for in the ruling (don’t really know, just speculating) is that it may come down to intent in terms of contract law i.e. was there a contract in place between NZCSC and NIWA prior to NIWA’s review of the 7SS in respect to the scientific methodology to be used (there was certainly an agreement to use Rhoades and Salinger 1993) and did NIWA break that contract by its departure from R&S93.

  • “I don’t think the debate needs to be confined to climate scientists (if that’s what you’re inferring). I think it also benefits from input from those who can look further into the past than climate scientists to see the big picture…certainly geologists and astronomers (amongst others) have that perspective and can provide useful information. This is a tremendously complicated issue, both scientifically and morally, and needs thoughtful input from everyone to help us make sense of a lot of conflicting evidence (and individual agendas on both sides).” Alastair you got my vote

  • ““I don’t think the debate needs to be confined to climate scientists (if that’s what you’re inferring). I think it also benefits from input from those who can look further into the past than climate scientists to see the big picture…certainly geologists and astronomers (amongst others) have that perspective and can provide useful information.”

    Hmmm, I’m not quite sure how much I agree with this statement. To truly understand any field of science you need a lot of specific knowledge and experience. Each field has core concepts which if not understood can lead to misunderstanding. There are many scientists who have made real gaffs when they talk about fields of study outside their area of expertise, not to mention Nobel laureates who have wandered into areas of pseudoscience after their award. And of course there are also scientists who have engaged in politically, rather than science motivated arguments – Fred Singer for example
    Of course this is not to say that those outside a field of study can’t ask very useful genuine questions.

  • Am I reading this right? You are suggesting that other disciplines have never contributed and should. I’m no follower of the climate science story but even I know other disciplines (other than “pure” climate science, that is)—such as geology or plant biology (think pollen samples, etc.)—have made contributions.

    Or perhaps your meaning isn’t clear from what you’ve written.

    Just accepting it for a moment – my own field draws on biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science even linguistics, to name the ones that immediately come to mind. It’d be the same for most fields.

    A quick check in Google Scholar, or even PubMed (it’s really mainly for biology) shows examples.

    (I’m puzzled by the reference to astronomy. I suspect you mean some other discipline. Michael’s point relates to people who haven’t studied the area they would apply their own discipline too. There are areas of biology, for example, I wouldn’t touch because they’re just not my patch, ditto for chemistry or physics outside of biophysics or biochemistry, etc. There’s also a distinction between using an area and front-line work in it.)

    But, back to work…

  • “…was there a contract in place?”

    On reflection no. A valid contract requires consideration, usually monetary or something of value I think so the agreement between NZCSC and NIWA (to use R&S93) wouldn’t have formed a contract. Don’t know how the judge will view the agreement in that case.

  • I also wonder why nobody mentions the Ionospeheric heaters such as HAARP ” Each portion of the ionosphere is effectively being heated at the ELF frequency. The heated area is larger which results in larger overall ELF power, and there is phasing between each heated region, which can impart some directionality to the radiated ELF”
    “The Sura facility was commissioned in 1981. Using this facility, Russian researchers studied the behaviour of the ionosphere and the effect of generation of low-frequency emission on modulation of ionosphere current. In the beginning, the Soviet Defense Department mostly footed the bill. The American HAARP ionospheric heater is similar to the Sura facility. The HAARP project began in 1993.”
    HISCAT in Sweden, EISCAT in Norway
    The number of these heaters is increasing Surely the Ionosphere contributes to the climate.

  • The total output of HAARP when it is operating is only 4GW. I am not sure how this is relevant to the discussion.

  • Only 4 GW. What about the rest of the ionspheric heaters. Did you miss the bit where it said it heats up a larger area than where it was aimed.
    They say it is to communicate with submarines, but there is evidence they are trying to own the weather.
    All that power being absorbed by the Ionosphere, heating the particles up there, it is very irresponsible, when they don’t even know what it could be doing to our planet.

  • Derek, no, not really.

    Have a look at the make-up of the Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere is above the point where the temperature could reasonably be expected to be transmitted back down to Earth. Good thing ‘cos up there it’s routinely hundreds of degrees, sometime breaching thousands on degrees. The “heating” achieved by HAARP does not make much difference. Note, from a different portion of the web page you quote (and don’t reference by the way, that’s getting very old.):
    This power is partially absorbed by the ionosphere, and though only a tiny fraction of the power it naturally receives from the sun, can still produce subtle changes that can be detected with sensitive instruments.
    http://vlf.stanford.edu/research/experiments-haarp-ionospheric-heater

    I put heating in quotes as while it is real, it’s not quite the same as putting something under a heat lamp. The atmosphere up there is extremely attenuated, consisting of gas and free ions (hence ionosphere), the temperature reflects the energy these particles have but you would still freeze to death if you were up there.

    Within the thermosphere temperatures rise continually to well beyond 1000 degrees C. The few molecules that are present in the thermosphere receive extraordinary amounts of energy from the Sun, causing the layer to warm to such high temperatures. Although the measured temperature is very hot, the thermosphere would actually feel very cold to us because the total energy of only a few air molecules residing there would not be enough to transfer any appreciable heat to our skin.
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/maps/satellite_feed/atmosphere_layers/

  • Scientists don’t normally issue press releases about yet to be published papers as issues may arise during the peer review process.

  • @Simon.
    Correct, but Watts was emulating Richard Muller who did this with his BEST paper.

    Muller issued a press release about his pre-publication and Watts felt compelled to do the same.

    IIt gives independent observers the chance to critique the paper before publication. Is this not a good thing?

  • @Grant. Why does a paper showing that US temperature records may have been exaggerated have relevance to a NZ court case showing that temperature records may have been exaggerated

    I must admit it’s a tricky one..

    @Peter,

    Mullers “road to Damscus” OpEd is embarrassing even to the warmists

    Check out William “Stoat” Connelleys piece:
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/07/28/muller-is-still-rubbish/

    The fact is that if Watt’s et al stands up to peer review etc then a lot of papers will have to be trashed, including BEST work.

  • Andy,

    No need to be snarky, you’re not getting my point. (Or perhaps not considering my point. Consider this: courts can’t decide if this USA data exaggerates the effect either. Also: as a separate event wouldn’t it have no bearing?)

    Just a thought: There’s a saying that ‘the data are the data’. You can debate the interpretations of data (scientifically, that is) but you can’t wish away the data – they are there, whatever they are and whatever people think of them.

  • Sorry if I sound snarky Grant. You comment is a valid one. What does the data show us in NZ? The raw unadjusted data shows no warming at all over the 20th Century.
    The warming in the 7SS is all in the adjustments, and it is the interpretation of the adjustments that is key. Whether this is an issue for courts is another point.

  • >The warming in the 7SS is all in the adjustments

    Yes, but as I noted before, the same warming trend is clear in the 11 stattion series, for which there is were no adjustments.

    Adjustments were needed. For example, one sees snow at the top of mountains – its colder up there. So when the Wellington measurements went from close to sea level where they used to be taken, up the hil to Kelburn, about 100m up, on any day the temperature reading was lower at Kelburn than it would have been if it was still measured at sea level. So to chain link the old with the new temperatures to get a continuous record for Wellington, the old temperatures measured at sea level had to be adjusted downwards to be comparable with what the measurements would have been at Kelburn. And similarly for Auckland, where the earlier Albert Park temperature measurements were affected by the warm current that comes down the east Auckland coast and had to be adusted downwards for comparability with the new measurements at Auckland Airport, where temperatures are affected by the cold ocean current that comes up the west Auckland coast. And so on for the other five stattions.

  • Possum – yes but the issue is with the correct application of the Rhoades and Salinger methodology to do the adjustments in the 7SS.

    The claim is that the methodology was not applied and this led to an artificially high warming.

    I can’t comment on the 11SS.

    Incidentally, the pre-publication paper by Watts et al that shows artificially high warming in the US was co-authored by Steve McIntyre, who also got another Aus/NZ paper tossed out (Gergis e at) because of incorrect methodology

    Gergis at al uses NZ temp data for calibration, so there is quite a lot a stake if you are interested in accurate science.

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