Scientists losing the Climate Change Plot

You would have thought that the scientists who work on climate change science would be only too pleased to share the data they gather, upon which they base their climate change calculations. After all every scientific theory needs tested and retested and tested again by as many different qualified people as possible. It is only by such a process of peer review that the science gains credibility and with credibility comes public acceptance. Climate change certainly needs to be studied by as many people as possible because it is important that the public accepts the theory.

It is not as though climate change scientists are developing a new drug for commercial exploitation; they should be trying to discover the degree of certainty, if any, in the theory of anthropogenic climate change and global warming. This would be a great discovery and one that would benefit humanity, and not one that could be patented and commercially exploited. The benefits for humanity, to be able to know about climate change with the same degree of certainty as we know that the earth is not plant, are far greater than mere money.

The main work of climate change scientists involves using data for computer modelling in an attempt to model something which is more complex, scientifically, than the computers and the computer programmes themselves. The data comes from weather stations that give or sell it to universities, such as theUniversityofEast Anglia. That university has had its problems with climate change science in the past few years and those problems generated a great deal of undeserved suspicion about climate change science which has resulted in some people who accepted the theory of global warming either changing theory minds or becoming “don’t knows”.

There are over 5000 weather stations, which may sound a lot but when you take into account the concentration of weather stations in the United States and parts of Europe, that is not enough to give a proper picture of what is happening with the climate. For that we would probably need 20,000 weather stations on land, and another 20,000 at sea and another 40,000 somewhere iin the atmosphere but there are only about 5,000 and curiously twenty years there were more weather stations then there are now.

Another problem with the weather station data is that is not always complete, so scientists using averages or their highly educated guesses guess the incomplete data.

Two years ago two scientists, a biologist and a quantum computing scientist, (Jonathan Jones and Don Keiller) asked the University of East Angliafor certain climate data. The University refused to supply it and the scientists made Freedom of Information Act requests which were denied. Eventually the Information Commissioner ruled that the data should be supplied. The reason for withholding the data was not suspicious; simply that some of the data had been supplied by foreign governments who normally make a charge for the data refused to allow the data to go out without their collecting their charges.

TheUK’s Information Commissioner ruled that it was in the public interest that the data go out. The rights to charge for it by the data owner were over ruled and the data (in this case from Trinidad and Tobago) reached the public domain via these two scientists free and without Trinidad and Tobago being able to collect their fee for it. Now all of the weather stations (except 19 inPoland) either directly or through Freedom of Information requests have their data, whether complete or incomplete, in the public domain and people can examine it.

The Univesrity of East Anglai have claimed “This particular ruling might have unintended and potentially damaging consequences for international collaboration,” I doubt it. I expect it to have quite the reverse effect and would enable all to see and test and contribute to the theory of global warming, not just a few institutions that the University may deem to be proper or suitable collaborators. After all the list of scientists who have made important contributions is not a list of people who in their time were recognised as the great and the good. Many of them were amateurs.

I do not know how much time of important scientists was taken up by this Freedom of Information Act request. Surely it could have been sorted out in less than two years with goodwill from all scientists involved and if necessary a cheque sent by someone to payTrinidad and Tobagoa fee for using the data.

I can understand why the University was reluctant to release data where they had a contractual duty to keep it out of the public domain (if that was the case) but I cannot see the important point of principle that kept the University from releasing it. Nor can I understand why the University could not have brokered a deal to release the data from the data owner nor can I understand why they would not release the data to two perfectly respectable scientists nor can I understand why the whole process had to be teased out by Freedom of Information Act requests nor do I know why all this data is not published on the net for all to see and use for the greater benefit of humanity.

Surely someone somewhere has lost the plot.

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