Climate Science “The time has come, …”
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
The Walrus and The Carpenter, Lewis Carroll
Climate science is important. Climate science is a mess. Climate science must be fixed. The new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator and the soon to be appointed new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrators have an obligation, either to make the science worth the money being spent on it, or to reduce the money being spent on it to a level commensurate with its apparent value.
The Climategate scandal in 2009 and 2011 began the very public questioning of climate scientists and the conduct of climate science. Climategate exposed Frantic Researchers Adjusting Unsuitable Data, attempting to control peer review, attempting to control or discredit peer reviewed journals, attempting to prevent certain scientists and their research from being published and attempting to ruin the careers of certain scientists. The recent revelations about the conduct of NOAA researchers in the preparation and publication of ‘Possible Artifacts of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus’ by Karl et al., Science 4 June 2015; and, the refusal of the NOAA Administrator to provide materials to a US House committee have rekindled the issue.
The new EPA, NOAA and NASA Administrators should immediately initiate a thorough, joint investigation of the acquisition, analysis and application of climate data by their agencies. This investigation should then expand to include those activities by other nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The initial focus of the investigation should be on data quality and data integrity. This should be followed by a focus on climate modeling and the application of climate models, particularly the need to verify climate models before using them as vehicles for producing questionable future scenarios.
All the agencies using US and global near-surface temperature data to track global warming “adjust” the data because they either KNOW, or have strong reason to BELIEVE, that the data are flawed. The new NOAA and NASA Administrators should immediately question why the agencies have chosen to continue adjusting flawed data, rather than taking steps to ensure that the data they collect for analysis is accurate. Instrument calibration schedules and instrument enclosure and site maintenance schedules should be reviewed and amended as necessary to ensure data quality. Data archiving and storage procedures should also be reviewed and amended as required to ensure data integrity and accessibility. The new Administrators should establish firm policies regarding data and information access, with the expressed intent of eliminating the need for FOIA requests to obtain access.
These investigations and reviews should not be conducted by agency personnel, but rather by “tiger teams” of outside experts in all of the technical fields of concern, with support from agency personnel. Agency personnel should be notified that refusal to cooperate honestly, fully and timely with the tiger teams would be considered a notice of resignation from the agency; and, processed accordingly.
There is general recognition that the data available from satellites is more comprehensive than the data available from surface and near-surface sources. However, there is continuing disagreement regarding the relationship between satellite data and surface and near-surface data. The Administrators should redirect funds currently spent on studies applying unverified models to produce future scenarios of questionable value. These funds should be used instead to fund studies to resolve the differences between the various data sources, since such studies would likely result in an enhanced understanding of the atmosphere and the processes occurring within it.