More information related to local climate change denier attacks on NIWA scientists is starting to appear. The NZCSC (NZ Climate Science Coalition – a local denier group) has listed sworn affidavits supporting their arguments to the NZ High Court requesting NIWA abandon New Zealand’s temperature record. Effectively they are accusing our scientists of scientific fraud! A very serious accusation.
Currently this case appears to be timetabled for the middle of the year.
Gareth, at Hot Topic, has already commented on a discrepancy in the affidavit from the NZCSC star witness, Dr Bob Carter (see The Carter Controversy). Carter claims “I receive no research funding from special interest organisations such as environmental groups, energy companies or government departments.” But recent exposure of internal memos from the US heartland Institute revealed that Carter is and will receive payments from them for his climate change denial work. As Gareth said: “A cynic might ask if Bob’s sworn statement to the High Court is entirely compatible with his Heartland funding.”
But my interest here is in the affidavit from Manfred Otto Dedekind. He has a B.Sc (Hons) in Physics (1986) and claims to be a computer modeller “constantly engaged with statistical analysis.” Why am I interested? Well, he admits that he was “a co-author of the 2009 NZCSC paper “Are we Feeling Warmer Yet?” Two years ago I was denied any information on the authorship of this paper, and its scientific input, by the NZSCC and its Climate Conversation Group (see New Zealand’s denier-gate and Climate change deniers live in glass buildings). In fact I was specifically told that the “science team “ who did the work for this paper wished to remain anonymous.
It was the first time I had heard of scientists so shy about their work. But given Dedekind’s science background and admitted co-authorship of this “paper” (“Are we feeling Warmer Yet?”) I guess we have a case of a “shy scientist” (or perhaps he was their whole “science team”) reluctantly coming forward because of the impending court case.
In the affidavit he describes himself as a “physicist” and “IT professional” living in Auckland who emigrated to New Zealand after working for 10 years “for the CSIR in Pretoria.” No indication of his current employment although he claims to “work as a computer modeller.” A search on Google Scholar produced just four engineering papers (two as senior author) published about 20 years ago.
When I requested information about their “paper” from these organisations two years ago I was directed to Richard Treadgold (who current runs the denier blog Climate Conversations) as the paper’s author. He was extremely evasive, promised me the data and methodology they used and then refused to provide it. You can download a full record of my email correspondence with Richard – but here are questions related to the statistical analysis and the scientific authors of the “paper.”
No statistical analysis
Treadgold and Dedekind (2009) (“Are we feeling Warmer Yet?”) claimed: “the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large correction.” In fact they went on to assert that NIWA scientists:
“created a warming effect where none existed.” That “the shocking truth is that the oldest readings were cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming.” And “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 emission of CO2 – it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.“
But they provided no statistical analysis to back up this claim!
Any effect, or lack of effect, of changes in location of station sites would have been easy to show by a relatively simple statistical procedure. In answer to my question “Was any statistical analysis (e.g. ANOVA) done on the raw data to test for the effect of station site?”
Richard’s answer “No.”
Now, at the time I thought that was scientifically inept. But Richard’s co-author Manfred describes himself, in his affidavit, as having “a sound grounding in the practical application of statistical technique.” So he should have known he could easily test his and Richard’s claim that adjustments for station site changes were unnecessary with the appropriate statistical analysis.
I find it hard to believe that he didn’t do this relatively simple analysis – given his “sound grounding” in the techniques. He may well have done so – but if he did I am sure he would have found it didn’t support the claims he and Richard made in this “paper.”
Anonymous “science team”
When communicating with Richard I attempted to track down the scientific authors of his paper. This was because Richard himself appeared not to understand my questions (he admits no science background) – and kept claiming he was passing them on to his “science team.” So it’s understandable that I should ask who this science team were:
“Can you tell me who the authors are? They will be the best people to ask about the statement in this paper which I, and David Winter, believe (and show with our analyses) to be incorrect. It would only be sensible, and respectful, for me to communicate with them before commenting further.”
Richard’s reply: ” I collated the study. The scientific team wish to remain anonymous.”
Later, frustrated with Richard’s avoidance, I asked: “PS – would it be possible to discuss these directly with one of your scientists involved in the work? It would be a lot easier.”
Richard’ strange reply: “Talk to a scientist??!! Ring the Make A Wish Foundation! No, it would be easier (for me, too!) — but so far they don’t wish to be known.”
Well, at last Manfred has put his hand up. I am pleased to see that he and his mates have included their “paper” “Are we feeling Warmer Yet?” on their index of exhibits for the High Court. Maybe NIWA will get the opportunity to put to him the questions I have raised. No judge will put up with the avoidance tactics dished out to me.
I guess we are all interested in seeing how the High Court reacts how the court reacts to Manfred’s request that NIWA’s temperature record “be rejected.” Actually, I am also interested in hearing what the judge has to say about the malicious nature of their request and the time wasted by the court.