Cyclone Gabrielle hit the country on the 14th February 2023. The Climate Change Minister said of the cyclones devastating effects: “ This is climate change.” ( From the Guardian 14th Feb 2023).
Let me remind Mr Shaw of the NASA definition of climate change.
“ No weather by itself is evidence of climate change/global warming, as the test is whether the weather adds to a new weather pattern over many years or even millennia.”
To make it clear what this means take a region like Northern Siberia. The temperature in winter may get down to -50 deg C. In summer it rarely gets over 7 deg C . So it is cold today in Northern Siberia, cold tomorrow, cold next week, next year and so on. We can say that Northern Siberia has a cold climate.
A one off event that does not keep repeating day after day is NOT climate. It is a weather event. Cyclone Gabrielle was a one off event. It was a weather event.
Unfortunately, no one in Parliament asked Mr Shaw to prove the cyclone was related to climate change. After the tirade of abuse suffered by Maureen Pugh, it is not surprising. Just like Galileo she was forced to retract.
Back to investigate Magazine and Cyclone Gabrielle. People like Shaw tend to link the cyclone with increasing storms due to climate change. Ian Wishart found that most of New Zealand’s historic storms and cyclones are missing from NIWA’s Historic Events Database. In fact more than 80% are missing.
When the missing data is looked at it refutes claims that “extreme climate events” are becoming more common. Ian Wishart used barometric pressure to classify past cyclones, rather than windspeed alone. Barometric pressure may be a more accurate measure of its destructive ability as it is a better predictor of rainfall, storm surge, and windspeed. The low barometric pressure of a cyclone means sea level can rise (Less push from the air above), and so storm surges may reach several metres.
Cyclone Gabrielle had a mean Sea level pressure of 963 hPa (hecto Pascals), Bola 982, and Giselle 967. The Met. Service said that Gabrielle was one of New Zealand’s biggest storms.
Note: Standard pressure taken at sea level is 1013 hPa.
Ian Wishart then went back through the records. Fortunately, there were records of barometric pressure taken by mariners and most were taken at sea level.
Ian Wishart states: “If Gabrielle is being called a 1-in-250 event by the media and climate scientists because they don’t realise that there was an even bigger one 155 years ago, what other big storms have slipped under NIWA’s radar and what does this mean for current official advice about the frequency of extreme weather?”
He also found that in February 1868 there was a storm with a pressure of 955 hPa and just a few months later in October, a powerful storm hit Southland with a pressure of 959 hPa. Not exactly, 1- in- 250 events only a few months apart. The October 1868 event does not appear in NIWA’s major events database.
It was found that of 22 major weather events that took place in a 22 year period leading up to 1890 only four had been loaded into the NIWA research database, meaning 82% were missing.
In total, 22 extreme weather events associated with storms of similar or greater barometric pressure than cyclone Bola have been located in the 22 year period from 1868 to 1890. That’s a rough average of one per year, and 1868 had four in one year. Five of these known storms in that period had far deeper barometric pressure than Gabrielle. Storms of that magnitude may have been 1-in-4 events even though the Carbon Dioxide levels were lower than at present.
Ian Wishart found there was no evidence that extreme weather events were increasing, and in fact it may be the reverse. So our early settlers faced the same storm problems we face today, though probably worse because of the frequency.
Ian Wishart and Investigate went on to look at claims by NIWA that some places experienced record high temperatures in 2022. Because there are many such claims and places, he looked at only the West Coast of the South Island. He found that NIWA’s Annual Climate Summary Report for 2022 contained false claims about record breaking temperatures, nullifying its official statement that 2022 was “New Zealand’s hottest year on record.” Once again there was a failure to enter historical data into its database. NIWA cites Greymouth in 2022 as being 29.2 deg C. However, Greymouth recorded a temperature of 31.7 deg C on the 14 Feb 1918, hit just over 32 deg C on 24th Jan 1989, and the same temperature again two years later. It has even reached 33.3 Deg C. It was found that a search of West Coast newspapers revealed that there were numerous occasions where the West Coast has topped 30 deg C, though Westport, Arapito, Greymouth, and Okarito did not reach 30 deg C in 2022.
We can call this misinformation, and one wonders how many other weather records from other localities are also false. There needs to be a line by line audit. NIWA has repeatedly claimed to have recorded New Zealand’s highest temperature on several occasions since 2010. The question arises how many of NIWA’s claims can be trusted? It seems they don’t release existing temperature data.
It turns out past temperatures were higher than today’s and this is not what climate alarmists want us to believe.
THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT
To obtain an average temperature of the Earth, weather stations are set up in many locations around the Earth. A hundred and fifty years ago, there were only small towns. Roads were not sealed and buildings were in the main, made of wood. There were no airports, no cars, no huge industries and a smaller number of people. Temperature reading devices-mainly thermometers, were set up in these towns so that those reading the thermometers did not have far to travel.
Things are very different now. Roads are sealed, high concrete buildings dominate our cities, and air conditioning units are fixed to most buildings. Cities are full of vehicles. There are often airports nearby. Many small, and often, not so small industries also occupy places in cities. The there are of course, many people. All these things contribute to making our cities very warm places especially in summer. In fact, most of the time, the temperature in a city is higher than the temperature in the surrounding countryside. This is known as The Urban Heat Island Effect.
The sketch below shows the kind of temperature profile that is typical. The rural temperature is 3.4 deg C lower than that in the city.
In the city I grew up in - Auckland in New Zealand, I attended the local primary school. I used to get to school at 7.30 in the morning so I could have an hour playing rugby, before school started. None of us wore shoes to school. There were substantial frosts in the winter, so it was a bit hard on your feet. The city has grown from about 300,000 to about 1.5 million now and you cannot find a frost anywhere inside the city. This is an indication of what all those things listed above can do to warm a city.
Most readers will have seen heat waves coming off a sealed road in summer. That’s the kind of heat produced in a city. Buildings tend to store heat, and that is released at night time. UHI effects increase with city size, and the effect is strongest when skies are free of clouds and wind speed is low. There isn’t much water in cities so generally they are fairly dry. So there is not the evaporation of water we see in the country to cool things down.
Scientist Oke produced a formula for the warming which is connected to population.
He said; UHI = 0.73 Log10 pop (pop is the population).
So with a town of population say 1000, then the extra temperature is 2.2 deg C .
For a city with a population of 1 million, then the extra temperature is 4.4 deg C.
Now since most temperature devices are located in cities for convenience, this extra heat generated in cities must be corrected for. This is the where the controversy begins. The question is do those responsible for giving out temperatures actually correct for the Urban Heat Island effect? I suspect in many cases they do not. They should subtract an amount from the reading obtained. In some cases they might subtract 0.1 deg C, which may be quite insignificant. Then they will say “we have corrected for the UHI.” How many times have we heard such and such a day was the hottest this decade or even this last 100 years. The records clearly show the 1930’s was the hottest decade in recent times. Specifically 1934. We get to the stage where it is difficult to believe such statements about hottest days. However, the general public usually accept what they are told and governments know that.
In fact, some cities may be up to 10 deg C higher in temperature than the surrounding countryside.
Continual adjustment must be made too in regard to the positioning of temperature devices. One such device may be initially at the edge of a city, then as the city grows and surrounds the temperature device, the UHI has more effect. Adjustments must also be made for a change in a measuring instrument.
The Siting Problem
In the USA, a team of volunteers under Anthony Watts began an effort to look at siting issues with over a thousand stations. They found issues with a high percentage of them. All of the siting issues identified introduced a warming bias.
This is an example of what happens when a tennis court is built next door. Note also the bin for burning rubbish. The graph shows a sharp increase in temperature (in blue), after the court was built.(The red dotted line). This is an example of what happens when the environment changes but is also an example of bad siting had the gauge been put there in the first place. This change is obvious but a gradual trend as a city approaches, may not be so obvious.
Recently, the Heartland Institute conducted a study of the placement of temperature stations in the USA. They found that 96% of climate data is corrupted. These are NOAA official temperature stations. The report published by the Heartland Institute was compiled via satellite, and in-person survey visits to NOAA weather stations that contribute to the “official” land temperature data in the USA. The research shows that 96% of these stations are corrupted by localised effects of urbanisation- producing heat bias because of their close proximity to asphalt, machinery, and other heat producing, heat trapping, and heat accentuating objects. Placing temperature stations in these locations violates NOAA’s own published standards.
Data from stations that have not been corrupted by faulty placement, show a rate of warming in the US reduced by almost half compared to all stations.