President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science

I recommend this post:  “Openness & Government“, Shane Deichman, at MountainRunner, 26 July 2008 (hat tip to Zenpundit) — Relevant and excellent material, including a gem of a quote.  Excerpt:

One of the major opportunities for enhancing the effectiveness of our national scientific and technical effort and the efficiency of Government management of research and development lies in the improvement of our ability to communicate information about current research efforts and the results of past efforts.
     President John F. Kennedy’s opening statement in the “Weinberg Report“, 10 January 1963

President Kennedy’s vision was consistent with these principles, and a key question asked by Dr. Weinberg’s panel was “How should Government agencies deal with information, other than its own reports, that is relevant to its mission?” In “Part 4: SUGGESTIONS: THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES”, the Weinberg Report says:

  1. “The Federal Government … must maintain an effective internal communication system; and it must see that an effective overall communication system is maintained”, and …
  2. “Since information is part of research, Government must assume responsibilities even toward those parts of the non-Government system that do not overlap with its own, simply because Government has assumed such heavy responsibilities toward research.”

One of the great public policy issues of our day is global warming:  magnitude, duration, causes, effects, and mitigation.  Although largely government-funded, it appears that that climate science is not run according to President Kennedy’s high ideals.  Concealment of data and models is very common in climate science, making replication and criticism almost impossible.

Here are descriptions of some current efforts — in a long and only partially successfully multi-year effort — to force public release of key data and calculations.  Appeals to major journals that they enforce their own standards, freedom of information act requests, pressure from Congress … progress has been slowly made, but pitifully little for a issue of such global importance.

  1. CSIRO adopts Phil Jones’ Stonewall Tactic“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 15 July 2008.
  2. NOAA Response to March 2007 FOI Request“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 8 July 2008.
  3. Climate Audit and NOAA FOI Policy“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 3 July 2008.
  4. E-Mail, “Personal” Records and Privacy“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 2 July 2008.
  5. Fortress Met Office continued“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 23 June 2008.
  6. Fortress CRU #2: Confidential Agent Ammann“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 20 June 2008.
  7. Fortress CRU“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 20 June 2008.
  8. Fortress Met Office“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 20 June 2008.
  9. Is Briffa Finally Cornered?“, Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit, 30 July 2008

Esp note this comment on why data is selectively shared among a small circle of researchers and effectively concealed from others.  While this makes sense in terms of their professional life, it is obviously wrong to restrict access to data from publicly funded work on such a vital subject.  It indicates how dysfunctional climate research has become that this problem continues for so many years after being widely identified.

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For more information about global warming

(a)  Other posts on this site

  1. A look at the science and politics of global warming, 12 June 2008
  2. Global warming means more earthquakes!, 19 June 2008
  3. An article giving strong evidence of global warming, 30 June 2008
  4. Worrying about the Sun and climate change – cycle 24 is late, 10 July 2008
  5. More forecasts of a global cooling cycle, 15 July 2008
  6. Update: is Solar Cycle 24 late (a cooling cycle, with famines, etc)?, (15 July 2008
  7. Two valuable perspectives on global warming, 4 August 2008

(b)  Information from other sources

  1. SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LAST 2,000 YEARS“, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES (2006) — aka The North Report.
  2. Report of the “Ad Hoc Committee on the Hockey Stick Global Climate Reconstruction”, commissioned by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (July 2006) — aka The Wegman Report.  Also note this excerpt from the Q&A session of the Dr. Edward J. Wegman’s testimony.
  3. The role of statisticians in public policy debates over climate change“, Richard L. Smith, American Statistical Association – Section on Statistics & the Environment Newsletter (Spring 2007) — One of the too-few reports by statisticians on the climate change literature.
  4. A timeline of the science and politics of climate science.
  5. Bibliography by year of climate science research. 

2 thoughts on “President Kennedy speaks to us about global warming and Climate Science

  1. Not sure about that FM. The IPCC has all the data sets of actual data and model outputs that you can download. I have personally downloaded quite a lot, to look at regional effects.

    At the Goddard Space Centre (part of NASA) you can actually download their climate models, including the source code. Try: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/ for the GISS models. For example “GISS GCM – Model AOM-GR FORTRAN source and documentation for the 1999 and 2004 versions of the GISS Atmosphere-Ocean Model (GR)”.

    The IPCC source for the results of all the models and scenarios for the 1995, 2001 & 2007 IPCC assessments is: http://www.ipcc-data.org/ar4/gcm_data.html . This means you can check their past projections as well.

    Note that the IPCC does not have its own models, it is a clearing house for information and results. The 2007 models are developed by:

    CSIRO (Australia)
    NASA (Goddard Space Centre)
    Beijing Climate Centre
    Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling
    Centre National de Recherches Meteorologiques, Meteo France
    Meteorological Institute of the University of Bonn (Germany)
    Institute of KMA (Korea), and Model and Data Group.
    Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, NOAA
    Institute of Numerical Mathematics, Russian Academy of Science, Russia.
    Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), France
    LASG, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciemces,
    Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany
    Meteorological Research Institute, Japan Meteorological Agency
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR),
    CCSR/NIES/FRCGC, Japan
    Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Met Office, United Kingdom

    True some centres are not so forthcoming about their source code (though their projections are all available from the IPCC), but if you contact them as a genuine researcher (e.g. the Australia, UK or German ones) they are more than helpful.

    Wiki also has some good introductions and links, e.g.:

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier the discoverer of the greenhouse effect in 1824
    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius about Svante August Arrhenius,
    who did the first calculations in 1896 which, globally, are amazingly accurate. The first ‘climate’ model: ΔF = α ln(C/C0)
    (3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect
    (4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_model
    (5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_climate_model
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thank you for posting these links (note that Wikipedia is notoriously biased on its climate science pages, purged of dissenting viewpoints like Stalin’s Academy of Science. However, while interesting and informative, this is not relevant to any of my comments about the state of Climate Science.

    While nice that we have access to the source code, that is not a substitute for a detailed review by an outside team covering the many fields involved: software engineering, statistics, physics, chemistry, plus climate sciences. Large bodies of code, esp that have evolved over many years, require substantial resources to validate. Given the importance of climate science, I find it astonishing that this has not been done (although understandable on political and psychological grounds).

  2. I agree totally about Wiki and I should have made it plainer that I just see it as a starting point for anyone wanting to get up to speed with the concepts and ideas, so that they can more effectively understand and interpret more detailed stuff from other sources. I definately don’t see it as definitive by any means.

    Another good source for an overview is the Australian Govt’s site: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/. There is a good overview by them of some of the climate models (www.dar.csiro.au/impacts/docs/how.pdf ). Again this is not defintive by any means, but a just a primer on some of the issues faced in climate modelling, for those who may not be familiar with “what’s the debate all about”.
    .
    .
    Fabius Maximus replies: I use Wikipedia on this site as a reference source, but it has become too politicized for use on many topics. On the FM Science, Nature, and Geopolitics reference page are links to other useful reports describing the state of climate science. Of course, there are no objective observers in such a field.

    Esp note this one, written by the counter-counter-revolutionary solar-cycle advocates (the solar cycles were seen as oen of the dominate forces in climate cycles, were overthrown, and are seeking to make a comeback): “Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United States“, David Archibald, International Conference on Climate Change, March 2008.

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