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Here’s another example of the Trump administration naming people to political posts in federal agencies in order to damage and destroy public trust in those agencies. This time it’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which, among other responsibilities, runs the National Weather Service and produces all sorts of information and data on climate to “help people understand and prepare for climate variability and change.” The administration just named David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology and long-time climate change denier affiliated with the conservative astroturf Heartland Institute, as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. It’s going to take many years for executive agencies across the federal government to come back from the damage created by this administration.
David Legates, a University of Delaware professor of climatology who has spent much of his career questioning basic tenets of climate science, has been hired for a top position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Legates confirmed to NPR that he was recently hired as NOAA’s deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction. The position suggests that he reports directly to Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the agency that is in charge of the federal government’s sprawling weather and climate prediction work.
Neither Legates nor NOAA representatives responded to questions about Legates’ specific responsibilities or why he was hired. The White House also declined to comment.
Legates has a long history of using his position as an academic scientist to publicly cast doubt on climate science. His appointment to NOAA comes as Americans face profound threats stoked by climate change, from the vast, deadly wildfires in the West to an unusually active hurricane season in the South and East.
Global temperatures have already risen nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century as a result of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Warming is happening the fastest at the Earth’s poles, where sea ice is melting, permafrost is thawing and ocean temperatures are heating up, with devastating effects on animals and humans alike.
The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is a gold mine of weather and climate data. Land-based, marine, model, radar, weather balloon, satellite, and paleoclimatic are just a few of the types of datasets available. Want to learn more? Attend this webinar (which is actually the first in a 3-part series of webinars!) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 at 2pm Eastern / 11am Pacific.
The first webinar in a 3 part series, “NCDC-The World’s Largest Climate Data Archive” will be presented on Wednesday, February 26th at 2pm EST. Register today! An overview of the 3 NOAA data centers can be found in the webinar series announcement.
- Title: NCDC-The World’s Largest Climate Data Archive
- Date: Wednesday, February 26th
- Start time: 2pm EST
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Greg Hammer , Meteorologist, NCDC
- Scott Stephens, Meteorologist, NCDC
- Stuart Hinson, Meteorologist, NCDC
- Mara Sprain, MALS Librarian, NCDC
- Susan Osborne, Technical Writer and Communications Specialist, NCDC
Summary: NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) maintains the world’s largest climate data archive and provides climatological services and data to every sector of the United States economy and to users worldwide. Records in the archive range from paleoclimatic data, to centuries-old journals, to data less than an hour old. The Center’s mission is to preserve these data and make them available to the public, business, industry, government, and researchers.
Data come to NCDC from not only land-based stations but also from ships, buoys, weather balloons, radars, satellites, and even sophisticated weather and climate models. With these data, NCDC develops national and global datasets. The datasets are used to maximize the use of our climatic and natural resources while also minimizing the risks caused by climate variability and weather extremes. NCDC has a statutory mission to describe the climate of the United States, and it acts as the “Nation’s Scorekeeper” regarding the trends and anomalies of weather and climate. NCDC’s climate data have been used in a variety of applications including agriculture, air quality, construction, education, energy, engineering, forestry, health, insurance, landscape design, livestock management, manufacturing, national security, recreation and tourism, retailing, transportation, and water resources management.
Participation is free, however registration is required. Upon registering, an e-mail confirmation of registration will include instructions for joining the Webinar.
NARA and NOAA join Old Weather Project to crowdsource transcription of historic naval ship weather logs
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!]