In the Dominion Post ex-NWIA climate scientist Prof Jim Salinger writes about the climate record he helped to create – which is now the subject of a High Court case.
An excerpt (read in full here):
Wellington’s climate shows warming trend
Climate scientists want to monitor how climate is changing and global warming progressing.
How they do this is particularly relevant as this week the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust is trying to persuade a judge in the High Court at Auckland to invalidate New Zealand’s temperature records that have been compiled and collected by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and the former government agencies.
The coalition asserts the only way Niwa can claim a warming trend of one degree Celsius over the past century is through the use of inaccurate data.
Scientists are very interested in tracking climate as human factors will be the dominant influence on climate this century, save a meteor crashing into the planet. They are interested in adjusting the readings as though they are taken from one location in an area.
Wellington has one of the longest and best climate records of any region in New Zealand. This is why climate scientists carefully adjust temperature records.
When Sir James Hector, director of the Colonial Museum in Wellington in the 1860s, established a network to monitor New Zealand’s weather and climate, the primary stations were established for weather forecasting, so the priority on permanency of location of a climate monitoring site for climate change was lower.
However, we are indebted to Sir James’s Scottish heritage, as in setting up the network he bought precision thermometers which were housed in Stevenson screens to ensure consistency. Observations were taken under standard conditions, in his words “rigorous”.