Saving U.S. Climate Data: Scientist are Scouring Government Databases Before Trump Holds Office [Video]By Beth Golden, UniversityHerald Reporter
Following President-elect Donald Trump's statements about revoking the Paris Agreement, dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and reversing environmental laws because climate change is a hoax, scientists from all over the world are now working on the double to save valuable information housed in government websites.
In light of the Mr. Trump's nomination of climate change dissidents to key positions in his Cabinet, scientists are being proactive, anticipating changes not just with government policies and funding but also access to decades' worth of public scientific data and information about climate change this is why they are archiving websites that contain irreplaceable information.
The Washington Post reported that while the President-elect and his transition team did not disclose plans of controlling publicly available data, scientists don't want to take their chances.
Meteorologist and self-proclaimed "climate hawk" Eric Holthaus caught the public's attention last week when he tweeted, "Scientists: Do you have a US.gov climate database that you don't want to see disappear?"
Responses from all over the country are collected in a Google spreadsheet that was flooded within hours. There was also a strong show of support with investors offering to help fund the initiative, lawyers offering pro bono services to scientists and database experts offering server spaces.
A "guerilla archiving" is also slated for this weekend according to the BBC. Here, scientists, researchers, academics and environmentalists with the help of volunteers will go through roughly 75,000 publications from the EPA website to map a database in a race-against-time effort to preserve the information.
The University of Pennsylvania will be working in collaboration with the University of Toronto's Technoscience Research Unit and the San Francisco-based nonprofit Internet Archive with its End of Term 2016 project.
Data on the EPA's website is considered most vulnerable which includes climate change, water, air and toxics programs, data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is also at risk.
For Prof. Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University, the real threat is not that the administration would try to get rid of the data but that they would try to end the collection of data. That would minimize the value of the current information we have. Continuous data is important for understanding the long-term effects of climate change and establishing trends.