The official archivist of New Zealand’s climate records, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), offers top billing to its 147-year-old national mean temperature series (the “NIWA Seven-station Series” or NSS). This series shows that New Zealand experienced a twentieth-century warming trend of 0.92°C.
The official temperature record is wrong. The instrumental raw data correctly show that New Zealand average temperatures have remained remarkably steady at 12.6°C +/- 0.5°C for a century and a half. NIWA’s doctoring of that data is indefensible.
The NSS is the outcome of a subjective data series produced by a single Government scientist, whose work has never been peer-reviewed or subjected to proper quality checking. It was smuggled into the official archive without any formal process. It is undocumented and sans metadata, and it could not be defended in any court of law. Yet the full line-up of NIWA climate scientists has gone to extraordinary lengths to support this falsified warming and to fiercely attack its critics.
For nearly 15 years, the 20th-century warming trend of 0.92°C derived from the NSS has been at the centre of NIWA official advice to all tiers of New Zealand Government – Central, Regional and Local. It informs the NIWA climate model. It is used in sworn expert testimony in Environment Court hearings. Its dramatic graph graces the front page of NIWA’s printed brochures and its website.
Internationally, the NSS 0.92°C trend is a foundation stone for the Australia-New Zealand Chapter in the IPCC’s Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. In 1994, it was submitted to HadleyCRUT, so as to influence the vast expanses of the South Pacific in the calculation of globally-averaged temperatures.
The Minister of Research Science and Technology, the Hon Dr Wayne Mapp, has finally become alarmed at the murky provenance of the NSS. The Government has directed and funded a 6-month project to produce a new national temperature record, with published data and transparent processes. The replacement record is to be the subject of a scientific paper, which is to be peer-reviewed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Hon Rodney Hide, a climate sceptic who is a Minister in the current Government and leader of the junior coalition partner, the ACT Party, has called upon his ministerial colleagues to formally repudiate the NSS and to withdraw all publications and formal papers which are based on the spurious warming trend of 0.92°C. The Government has not yet responded to this challenge.
New Zealand is a small country, with a strong tradition of open Government, and is not an easy place to keep secrets. The acceptance of the NSS for so long offers evidence of the dictum: “you can fool all of the people some of the time..” But if that can happen in New Zealand, how much greater is the probability that similar shenanigans could be happening in larger, more complex, jurisdictions?