Temperatures in NZ warmed 1degc since 1931 - Niwa

NZPA December 3, 2009, 9:00 PM

Climate scientists say temperatures in New Zealand have risen 1degC between 1931 and 2008.


National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) scientists said today that the analysis of long-term measurements from seven weather stations showing warming was backed up by other observations, including measurements from ships.


A 1995 study identified an upward trend of about 0.7degC from 1900 to 1993 in night time minimum air temperatures measured from ships over the ocean surrounding New Zealand.


"That trend is similar to the trend from the seven-station land network over the same period," a Niwa spokesman said today.


"Also, sea surface temperatures measured from the same ships warmed by 0.6degC in that period".


A senior climate scientist formerly employed by Niwa, Jim Salinger, has identified from the Niwa climate archives a set of 11 stations with long records where there have been no significant changes at the site where measurements were taken.


"When the annual temperatures from all of these sites are averaged to form a temperature series for New Zealand, the best-fit linear trend is a warming of 1degC from 1931 to 2008," Niwa said.


It was responding to a continuing row -- the so-called "climategate" controversy in which the private emails of climate scientists were hacked and leaked on the Internet by climate change sceptics who accused them of manipulating data to show the world's climate is warming.


Dr Salinger -- who with colleague Jill Gunn reported in a scientific journal, Nature, 34 years ago, on southern hemisphere warming at a time when people were worrying about the next ice age -- and Kevin Trenberth, a scientist leading climate analysis at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research were among the victims of the email leak.


In NZ, some sceptics used the controversy to argue the emails from the University of East Anglia's climate research unit suggested selective science and even collusion in preparing reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


And the Climate Conversation Group and the Climate Science Coalition released their own analysis claiming that unadjusted temperature readings from seven weather stations with 100-year-plus records -- Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Hokitika, Nelson, Lincoln and Dunedin -- were stable and did not show a warming trend.


But Niwa scientists said there were several reasons for adjusting the temperature record from specific site, including introducing new thermometers or sensors to a weather site, and changes to its exposure caused by growing vegetation or urban sprawl.


Wellington figures had to be adjusted down when the official weather site moved up 120m in altitude in 1928 from the Thorndon waterfront to Kelburn, which is about 0.8deg cooler, on average.


Ignoring major changes in site location would produce wrong results, the state-owned science company said.


"For the longer `seven station' time series, adjustments to account for significant site changes are necessary in order to provide a meaningful estimate of New Zealand temperature trends," it said.




Climate conference 'on disaster track'

4:00 AM Friday Dec 4, 2009

LONDON - A top Nasa scientist said he would rather see no agreement at the Copenhagen climate conference because the whole approach to climate change was so deeply flawed it would be better to start from scratch.

James Hansen told Britain's Guardian newspaper he believed that any agreement that might emerge from the upcoming conference would be deeply flawed.

"I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track, because it's a disaster track," Hansen said in an interview with the newspaper.

He added: "The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will spend years trying to determine exactly what that means."

Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, spoke to the Guardian just days before the 192-nation conference in Copenhagen, which aims to set parameters for a new climate change agreement to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That agreement required 37 wealthy nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, but made no demands on rapidly emerging economies such as China and India.

Hansen said no political leader can grasp the importance of the issue.

"We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual," he said.

Hansen said dealing with climate change allowed no room for political compromises.

"This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill," he said. "On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50 per cent or reduce it 40 per cent."

Climate study chief steps down over emails

Trevor Davies says a sustained campaign is going on to undermine climate science.

LONDON - The chief of a British research centre caught in a storm of controversy over claims that he and others suppressed data about climate change has stepped down pending an investigation, the University of East Anglia said.

The university said that Phil Jones, whose emails were among the thousands of pieces of correspondence leaked to the internet late last month, would relinquish his position as director of the Climatic Research Unit until the completion of an independent review.

The university's pro-vice-chancellor for research, Trevor Davies, said the investigation would cover data security, whether the university responded properly to Freedom of Information requests "and any other relevant issues".

The statement said the specific terms of the review would be announced later in the week.

Jones has been accused by sceptics of man-made climate change of manipulating data to support his research. In particular, many have pointed to a leaked email in which Jones writes that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in a chart detailing recent global temperatures. Jones has denied manipulating evidence and insisted his comment had been misunderstood, explaining that he'd used the word trick "as in a clever thing to do".

Davies said there was nothing in the stolen material to suggest the peer-reviewed publications by the unit "are not of the highest-quality of scientific investigation and interpretation".

But the correspondence from Jones and others - which appears to include discussions of how to keep critical work out of peer-reviewed journals and efforts to shield scientists' data and methodology from outside scrutiny - have been seized upon by those who are fighting efforts to impose caps on emissions of carbon dioxide as evidence of a scientific conspiracy.

US Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and a vocal sceptic of global warming, called yesterday for Senate hearings on the emails. In a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat who chairs the environment committee, Inhofe said the emails could have far-reaching policy implications for the United States.

Both Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are taking action to curb global warming based on a report that uses data produced by the Climate Research Unit.

A House committee hearing on the status of climate science is expected to question two prominent Obama Administration scientists, White House science adviser John Holdren and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco, about the emails.

A climate scandal, or is it just hot air?

4:00 AM Saturday Nov 28, 2009

Leaked emails were this week used to allege that scientists hyped evidence of man-made global warming.

Before this week, few knew who Phil Jones was.

Now the British scientist is at the centre of an email scandal after about 1000 emails spanning a decade were stolen from the Climate Research Unit he leads at the University of East Anglia.

Emails seen by the Herald, from New Zealand scientists, reveal little apart from some grumbling about a research paper they had already publicly panned, by Auckland University's Chris de Freitas.

But some of the conduct hinted at in the emails is more difficult to explain.

In one of the stolen emails, Dr Jones appears to suggest he and his colleagues should delete emails lest they fall into the hands of climate-change deniers.

In another, he discusses blocking a research paper questioning global warming from being published in a scientific journal.

Climate experts in several countries went into damage control - stressing that while the emails were personally embarrassing for three or four scientists, they did not undermine the evidence of man-made global warming gathered by hundreds of top scientists over many years.

But while the scientific questions were answered, the "delete the emails" message left questions which prompted Guardian columnist George Monbiot - a strong supporter of action to fight man-made global warming - to call for Dr Jones' resignation.

"No one has been as badly let down by the revelations in these emails as those of us who have championed the science," he wrote on Guardian.co.uk.

"There are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad."

One of the hacking victims, Kevin Trenberth of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, pointed out that the timing of the attacks seemed calculated to create doubt ahead of the Copenhagen climate talks, which start in just over a week.

Bob Ward, director of policy and communications at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, told the Guardian newspaper that, while he was sorry for the scientists who had suffered years of attacks by "so-called sceptics", there should be an independent investigation of their conduct. As for Dr Jones, he issued a statement on his unit's website saying some of the emails were "clearly" written in the heat of the moment and he regretted any confusion. "My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well."

What would Galileo say about climate change?

What's the worst thing a reasonable person could say about the way the
Catholic Church treated Galileo?

Let's not set the standards too high. Never mind whether or not the
historical complaint against the Church is accurate. Let's only say
that it must be plausible enough so that one could make the complaint
at an ordinary neighborhood barbeque party, or in the refectory of a
Jesuit residence, without fear of being contradicted immediately.

The complaint, I think, would be that Church leaders used political
pressure to suppress a scientific theory.

We can debate the Galileo case some other time. For the sake of the
present argument, let's assume that complaint is entirely justified.
How is that different from what government officials - and a shocking
number of professional scientists - are doing in today's debate about
climate change?

For several years now, the leading proponents of the theory that
mankind has changed the world's climate by increasing carbon-dioxide
emissions have done their utmost to silence their scientific critics.
Anyone who dares to question their theories has faced public ridicule,
ostracism from the scientific community, barriers to publication of
scholarly papers, and obstacles to securing funds for research
projects. The climate-change theorists have dominated the field not
because they have answered all their critics but because they have
muffled the skeptics' voices.

Now we have learned that leading climate-change scientists
deliberately suppressed some data, used tricks to manipulate
statistics, and conspired to keep their opponents' work out of
scientific journals and conferences. It's true that the evidence was
obtained illicitly-- by hackers who broke into a university's computer
network. But the evidence of scientific misconduct is mountainous. In
email exchanges, scientists boast of using "tricks" to skew
statistical results, referred to professional colleagues as "idiots,"
and discussed the inconvenient bits of evidence they planned to hide.
In one message that neatly sums up these researchers' attitude toward
scientific objectivity, one scientist vowed to keep a critical piece
out of circulation "even if we have to redefine what the peer-review
literature is!" The emails seemed to show ample evidence of scholarly
misconduct: a "smoking gun," as many commentators put it. But one
climate-change skeptic said that metaphor was inadequate: "This is not
a smoking gun; this is a mushroom cloud.

When public leaders exert pressure on scientists, hoping to influence
their findings, they injure the cause of truth. When scientists
themselves intimidate other scientists, their offense is still more
serious because they violate the canons of their own vocation.
Scientists who deliberately distort their results, or suppress
evidence and arguments to fit their own preferences, endanger public
confidence in all scientific research, and handicap the true scholar's
quest for truth. Anyone who loves science should be quick to condemn
the misconduct exposed in these pirated email exchanges. The fact that
other serious climate-change theorists have not denounced their
manipulative colleagues speaks volumes.

The climate-change theorists have sustained a serious blow to their
credibility. Yet it appears-- for now, at least-- that they will
retain their dominance in the public discussion. The mass media have
fully embraced the climate-change hypothesis, and now show no
inclination to question it. (Diogenes points out that the New York
Times has cited public opinion as the reason not to scrutinize the
data more carefully.) The world's political leaders-- who are already
planning sweeping policy changes in response to the supposition that
mankind has caused climate change-- are not ready to second-guess
their own premature conclusions.

In short, the climate-change hypothesis is popular among the people
who control political affairs and public opinion. Galileo's views, on
the other hand, were unpopular with Church officials. Otherwise,
what's the difference between the two cases?