This week in his weekly Time to Wake Up speech, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) speaks about climate change making the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) High Risk List for the first time this year. GAO's High Risk List is published every two years at the start of every new Congress since 1990. GAO "calls attention to agencies and program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or are most in need of transformation."
"According to GAO, and I’ll quote again, “The nation’s vulnerability can be reduced by limiting the magnitude of climate change through actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions. . . . While implementing adaptive measures may be costly, [GAO continues] there is a growing recognition that the cost of inaction could be greater and—given the government’s precarious fiscal position—increasingly difficult to manage given expected budget pressures.”'
"Mr. President, Congress has been asleep long enough. We have a tradition in this body of taking the accounting of GAO, our non-partisan watchdog, seriously, and of taking GAO’s High Risk List seriously. GAO now joins our defense and intelligence communities, our scientific research communities, and our state and local governments, and major sectors of private industry, who have all elevated climate change from their “to-do” list to their “must-do” list. Mr. President, it is time for Congress to wake up to its duties, and to get to work."
NARA and NOAA join Old Weather Project to crowdsource transcription of historic naval ship weather logsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2012-10-24 10:45.
According to today's press release from NOAA, the National Archives (NARA) and NOAA are teaming up and joining the Old Weather Project hosted at Zoonivers.org to crowdsource the transcription of historic ships' logs in order to extract critical environmental data. The Old Weather Project began over 2 years ago with British Royal Navy log books -- 16,400 volunteers have transcribed 1.6 million weather observations so far! Transcribed data produced by Old Weather volunteers will be integrated into existing large-scale data sets, such as the International Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS). Human volunteers are so important in this case because Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies cannot currently recognize hand-written text.
Before there were satellites, weather data transmitters, or computer databases, there were the ship’s logs of Arctic sea voyages, where sailors dutifully recording weather observations. Now, a new crowdsourcing effort could soon make of the weather data from these ship logs, some more than 150 years old, available to climate scientists worldwide.
NOAA, National Archives and Records Administration, Zooniverse — a citizen science web portal — and other partners are seeking volunteers to transcribe a newly digitized set of ship logs dating to 1850. The ship logs, preserved by NARA, are from U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Revenue Cutter voyages in the Arctic between 1850 and the World War II era.
Organizers hope to enlist thousands of volunteers to transcribe scanned copies of logbook pages via the Old Weather project with an eye to Information recorded in these logbooks will also appeal to a wide array of scientists from other fields – and professionals from other fields, including historians, genealogists, as well as current members and veterans of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
[HT to Gary Price at InfoDocket for calling our attention to this project!]
Congress Nixes Climate Service, By Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review (Nov 21, 2011).
NOAA's budget request for fiscal year 2012 (which began October 1) included a proposal to reorganize its existing climate capabilities and services into "a single point of entry" for users called the Climate Service. The stated goal was to "more efficiently and effectively respond to the rapidly increasing demand for easily accessible and timely scientific data and information about climate that helps people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities."
Despite the fact that the proposal did not call for any additional funding to establish the new office, Republican lawmakers opposed it every step of the way, according to the Post's Brian Vastag, who was seemingly the only reporter to spot Congress's decision to scuttle the Climate Service during budget negotiations last week.
Earlier this week I reported on a significant report that may be hard to find and preserve (Senate Anatomy Of Financial Collapse). Here is another example of a prominent government report that may be hard to identify and preserve.
- Wegman, E.J., Scott, D.W., Said, Y.H., 2006. Ad-hoc Committee Report on the ‘Hockey Stick’ Global Climate Reconstruction, "A Report to Chairman Barton, House Committee on Energy and Commerce and to Chairman Whitfield, House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: Paleoclimate Reconstruction." (PDF, 1.5 MB), 91pp (missing page 1) [citation based examination of item and on a footnote in the Computational Statistics & Data Analysis article listed below.]
This report is in the news this week because a scholarly journal has withdrawn a paper based on the report.
- Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism, By Dan Vergano, USA Today (May 15, 2011).
Based on information in another USA Today story, (Retracted climate critics' study panned by expert, By Dan Vergano, USA Today, May 19, 2011), the retracted paper is, apparently, this one (still available as of this morning from ScienceDirect):
Yasmin H. Said, Edward J. Wegman, Walid K. Sharabati, John T. Rigsby, Social networks of author-coauthor relationships, Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Volume 52, Issue 4, 10 January 2008, Pages 2177-2184, ISSN 0167-9473, DOI: 10.1016/j.csda.2007.07.021.
A hearing before the same committee, from 2006, with testimony by Wegman is available from FDsys:
- House Hearing, 109Th Congress - Questions Surrounding The 'Hockey Stick' Temperature Studies: Implications For Climate Change Assessments, U.S. House of Representatives. Committee on Energy and Commerce, July 19, 2006, July 27, 2006, Serial No. 109-128, Y 4.C 73/8
Because climate change is a contentious political issue, it is easy to find on the web lots about the original "Wegman report" and the retraction of the journal article. It is not easy to find citations to the article that has been retracted (one citation in USA Today was apparently built from a Google Scholar search and breaks). Copies of the report with the missing first page are available at a number of web sites, but I could not find it in FDsys. The only "official" copy I found (linked above) was buried on the Committee web site.
One wonders if this report will be easy to find and attribute and authenticate in a year or ten years or fifty years.
Significant highlights of the report include the consideration of the significance of climate change on national security; the greening of the Department of Defense, including efforts to make the military more environmentally friendly, to anticipate and prepare for environmentally driven crises and disasters, and to achieve energy security; and efforts to convert the nontactical vehicle fleet away from gasoline-dependence, and a Navy plan to deploy a carrier strike group running on biofuels and nuclear power by 2016.
For more analysis of what's inside the QDR, please see the following articles:
- Growing Pentagon Focus on Energy and Climate. Andrew C. Revkin. NY Times dOTEarth blog.
- What's inside the Quadrenial Defense Review. Robert Farley. Tapped: the group blog of the American Prospect
All of the strategic defense reviews are available at DoD Strategic Defense reviews including the Quadrenial Defense Review (QDR), Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) and the Space Posture Review (SPR).
The founder of the highly respected Arts & Letters Daily Web site has created a new site Climate Debate Daily - a forum for both sides in the "heated" controversy over global warming. The site's dual format sheds a scholarly light on this heavily politicized battle. According to the website, Climate Debate Daily is intended to deepen our understanding of disputes over climate change and the human contribution to it. The site links to scientific articles, news stories, economic studies, polemics, historical articles, PR releases, editorials, feature commentaries, and blog entries. It includes arguments and evidence generally in support of the IPCC position on the reality of signficant anthropogenic global warming - and also includes material skeptical of the IPCC position and the notion that anthropogenic global warming represents a genuine threat to humanity. As a matter of editorial policy, Climate Debate Daily "maintains a studied neutrality", allowing each side to present its most powerful and persuasive case. The goal is to allow readers to form their own judgments based on the best available information. The issue of climate change will remain important because it is affecting government policies on a variety of issues worldwide.