Kim Cobb’s view

The last point that merits mention is the issue of who should have access to raw and processed climate data and associated metadata. We all agree that all types of climate data should be made publicly available. Ideally, data consumers would further progress by seeking to understand the fundamental truths of climate change and probing the limitations of climate datasets, contributing to a global dialogue in the peer-reviewed literature. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that a small portion of the raw data that went into some of the CRU SST datasets is proprietary, and was shared by parties who stipulated that it not be publicly distributed. Even if this were not the case, archiving such a large dataset in such a way as to make it useful to those not well-versed in IDL or GRADS is not a trivial task. There is a financial cost associated with making data and metadata and code publicly accessible, and this cost needs to be borne by someone other than the scientists themselves or their institutions, which operate on tight budgets.

I feel that as climate scientists we must put ourselves at the very center of the discussions surrounding the causes and consequences of anthropogenic global warming. In doing so, some may come dangerously close to policy advocacy, but to recuse ourselves from the raging international debate would be a great loss for humanity.


Comments on this should be posted under the Hansen post.

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