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Sceptics lose fight against NIWA temperature data

A group of global warming sceptics has lost a bid to have temperatures collected by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), declared invalid.

A High Court ruling released today by Justice Geoffrey Venning said the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust had not succeeded in any of its challenges against Niwa.

Justice Venning also ruled the trust had to pay Niwa costs and if they could not agree on the amount, he would make a ruling later.

In July the trust, a branch of the NZ Climate Science Coalition, challenged national temperature records in the High Court in Auckland, saying the method used was unscientific.

Records from Niwa showed a national warming trend of almost 1 degree Celsius in the last century.

The figure, which was almost 50 per cent above the global average for the period, was unreliable, the trust says.

The dispute relates to readings from the “Seven-station Series” (7SS) – stations in Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Hokitika, Lincoln and Dunedin – used by Niwa for national temperature records.

The NZ Climate Science Coalition is made up of people who are sceptical about global warming and share concerns about “misleading information” on climate change, according to the website.

The trust’s lawyer told the court the group was not asserting climate change did no exist, “we’re saying let’s at least make sure that evidence of this for New Zealanders is accurate”.

He challenged the way Niwa had adjusted temperatures recorded at stations, which he said were moved half a degree downwards on average in early readings.

But Niwa’s lawyer, Justin Smith said court was not the place to test whether Niwa’s temperature data was invalid.

Justin Smith also said that “expert” witnesses called by the trust were not qualified to give evidence on climate science.

The trust had asked the court to invalidate the temperature record, to stop Niwa from using the the record to advise the Government and the public and for Niwa to provide “full and accurate” temperature record.



Nic on 7/09/2012 3:02am

Surely they don’t have to be experts in climate change to be experts in scientific method? Obviously there’s been far more to the story than can be reported on in a brief article but I’m still not convinced either way. Regardless of the results, I’d like to think that the evidence has been collected with reliable, consistent scientific method. It would be very easy for some margin of error to creep in over the course of a century.

Like I say, not convinced either way but I do believe it’s good to read everything with a critical eye, rather than just accepting it as fact

David on 7/09/2012 2:24am

And who says the NIWA people are “experts”?

So Mr Justin Smith, where is the best place to test that NIWA’s temp data is invalid?
The continued to and fro with arguments this way and that on sites like this?

Let’s just wait and see.

RW on 7/09/2012 8:09am

Predictable that you’d jump in. The “sceptics” made elementary mistakes that a 3rd former could look down on. Simple matters such as lapse rates were beyond them. They are also liars, as they continued to publish data knowing it had been incorrectly manipulated. Unfortunately for them, the only one of their members with a meteorological brain, Augie Auer, died several years ago. He however would never have mounted such a stupid case but would have argued about something quite different.

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