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Call for NIWA to be disbanded

For immediate release:
The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition

Media release (immediate) 31 March 2007

Call for NIWA to be disbanded

The latest attempt by NIWA to explain away the extreme rain that fell in Northland these past few days provides the strongest argument for the disbanding of NIWA and the return of all weather matters to MetService, according to Professor Augie Auer, a former chief meteorologist and now chairman of the science panel of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.

"So simplistic, it's silly" is how Dr Auer describes the statement by NIWA climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger that "As climate warming occurs, the atmosphere can hold more moisture and therefore more rain falls and therefore what we have thought of under past climate data as one-in-100 or more reduces."

“While qualified climate scientists will cringe at Jim Salinger’s nonsensical interpretation, ordinary New Zealanders affected by adverse natural weather events should rise up and demand that administration of all climate matters should return to its traditional home, MetService,” said Dr Auer.

He explained that in 1992 responsibility for all issues relating to climate science, and even data just 48 hours old, were stripped from the then New Zealand Meteorological Service (renamed as MetService) and transferred to the newly created National Institute for Water and the Atmosphere (NIWA).

"As an explanation of the cause and consequences of last week's Northland rains, Dr Salinger's statement above is as unscientific as it is incorrect. If warming of the air encourages more moisture in the atmosphere, how come there's no rain over the deserts? And the mere presence of moisture in the atmosphere will not produce rain unless there is an associated atmospheric and meteorological process, which last week was the great volume of warm saturated tropical air that funnelled down on to New Zealand.

"But it gets worse. Dr Salinger uses the words ‘as climate warming occurs’, when his own agency's latest seasonal summary statistics for December-February just released show New Zealand at 15.7 degrees C, 0.9 degrees lower than normal. In fact, his agency's own figures show that New Zealand has been cooling since the El Nino of 1998. To put it simply, NIWA is claiming that warming is occurring when its own records show otherwise. Why wont they admit this?

"Dr Salinger is part of an agency that supports the hypothesis, promulgated by the government-employees and funding-dependent scientists that work with and for the IPCC, that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have caused global warming when in fact there is no scientific proof that CO2 is the cause of the minimal warming that occurs from time to time in the atmosphere. As a consequence, there is no need for Kyoto, carbon taxes and the other costly red herrings currently being spun in political circles.

"At a time when MetService and NIWA are at such loggerheads that a mediator has had to be appointed, it's time for the Government and the Opposition parties to disband NIWA to stop its nonsense statements and return its functions to the agency where they rightly belong, MetService. At least MetService deals in the real world of observation of actual weather events, and forecasts based on those events, as well as its links with World Meteorological Organisation, as New Zealand’s official representative on that body. This is the real world of weather, as opposed to the computerised ‘statistical models’ on which Dr Salinger says NIWA relies” said Dr Auer.


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