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NASA Releases Massive Climate Change Data Set 310

An anonymous reader writes: NASA is releasing global climate change projections to help scientists and planners better understand local and global effects of hazards. The data includes both historical measurements from around the world and simulated projections based on those measurements. "The NASA climate projections provide a detailed view of future temperature and precipitation patterns around the world at a 15.5 mile (25 kilometer) resolution, covering the time period from 1950 to 2100. The 11-terabyte dataset provides daily estimates of maximum and minimum temperatures and precipitation over the entire globe." You can download them and look through the projections yourself at NASA's Climate Model Data Services page.
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NASA Releases Massive Climate Change Data Set

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  • by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <acoastwalker@hotm a i l . c om> on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @12:31PM (#49884493) Homepage

    I see only the raw data on the link. I think that farmers would be interested in their local projections but we need tools to see them.

    • Did you check all 11 terabytes? Kidding

    • I see only the raw data on the link.

      Thank God... and NASA of course - i did not checked them, but, for things like this issue, what the world needs mostly in my opinion is raw data... enough with just opinions and/or simulated projections based on measurements (from the summary: "The data includes both historical measurements [covering the time period from 1950 ...] from around the world and simulated projections based on those measurements").

      I think that farmers would be interested in their local projections but we need tools to see them.

      I can't think why a farmer may need this data, plus, at 15.5 mile (25 kilometer) resolution, even if

      • The data is useful, but it's only valuable if it can be put into some kind of meaningful context and converted into information.
        • I understand the need for data to become information (and knowledge), but, since the particular data not only are meaningful while examined clustered and in large scale i think but also have an impractical 15.5 mile (25 kilometer) resolution for a farmer (singular), the farmers (plural) must wait some NON-farmer(s) to make the convertion of data to information (and knowledge).
        • The data is useful, but it's only valuable if it can be put into some kind of meaningful context and converted into information.

          Let's not stop there. Information once organized and processed may lead to actual knowledge. Armed with knowledge and good judgment you might obtain wisdom and insight, and only then do you stand a chance of making an appropriate decision. That's a tall order in itself, but becomes much harder when there multiple forces attempting to mislead you every step of the way.

        • You mean like MSNBC and Fox News are separately going to do?

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by PPH ( 736903 )

        I can't think why a farmer may need this data,

        If you spread it on the fields, it helps the crops grow.

        • I can't think why a farmer may need this data,

          If you spread it on the fields, it helps the crops grow.

          Oh... then we should make sure they are free of any chemicals.

          • Oh... then we should make sure they are free of any chemicals.

            I have some of that right here for you.....yes sir, I call it Vacuum.

            • Oh... then we should make sure they are free of any chemicals.

              I have some of that right here for you.....yes sir, I call it Vacuum.

              No fucking way i would ever use this Vacuum shit... it sounds like a very dangerous chemical.

              • No fucking way i would ever use this Vacuum shit... it sounds like a very dangerous chemical.

                I'm pretty sure they're why they banned incandescent bulbs.

                • No fucking way i would ever use this Vacuum shit... it sounds like a very dangerous chemical.

                  I'm pretty sure they're why they banned incandescent bulbs.

                  That was an overreaction - o.k., i don't want Vacuum in my food, but for incandescent bulbs they could just add a "contains Vacuum" warning.

              • "I have some of that right here for you.....yes sir, I call it Vacuum."

                So long as it's not GMO, I'll gladly breathe it.

      • Raw data can be downloaded at every weather/climate research center of the world.
        For free.
        Since minimum 50 years (the for free part).

        Google is your friend.

    • I think that farmers would be interested in their local projections but we need tools to see them.

      Probably not. At best, the models are only accurate to the continental scale (source: IPCC report), and even that might be questionable.

      On the other hand, farms have been known to use almanacs, so that would definitely be a step up.

  • by Minwee ( 522556 ) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @12:37PM (#49884553) Homepage

    There.s a 0.1 degree difference in the maximum temperature in Fargo for today.

    Clearly, all of science must be wrong and I can pretty much make up anything I like and claim it is reality.

    Winning!

  • by BCGlorfindel ( 256775 ) <klassenk@brand o n u.ca> on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @12:44PM (#49884623) Journal

    More data is always good, but presenting any uncertainty and conditions on predictions is vital. Not only so we make properly informed decisions, but also so we don't tarnish trust by misrepresented predictions.

    Climate models are really great science, but are also really ripe for this sort of problematic viewing from the public. Not just the laymen, but informed and educated public as well. To just quickly read and peruse climate model summaries you'd get the impression that confidence in models is really high. The reality is that confidence in PORTIONS of the models is really high. The whole however still has a long ways to go.

    The IPCC fifth assessment report in chapter 9 [www.ipcc.ch] notes the following:
    Model tuning aims to match observed climate system behaviour and so is connected to judgements as to what constitutes a skilful representation of the Earth’s climate. For instance, maintaining the global mean top of the atmosphere (TOA) energy balance in a simulation of pre-industrial climate is essential to prevent the climate system from drifting to an unrealistic state. The models used in this report almost universally contain adjustments to parameters in their treatment of clouds to fulfil this important constraint of the climate system (Watanabe et al., 2010; Donner et al., 2011; Gent et al., 2011; Golaz et al., 2011; Martin et al., 2011; Hazeleger et al., 2012; Mauritsen et al., 2012; Hourdin et al., 2013).

    That's taken context and backed up by over a dozen citations to relevant journal articles on model tuning. The short version is that tuning Top Of Atmosphere energy is still a required step to avoid climate models running out to unrealistic states. The journal articles all confirm this. With TOA energy being the ultimate overall driving force behind climate change, our predictions are still subject to the fact we aren't yet able to predict TOA energy. Without that we can make guesses what TOA energy might do, but the confidence in them is nothing like the confidence in other components of climate. Failing to qualify this though could leave us 20 years from now pointing at the AR5 projections and asking what went so terribly wrong with them, and the answer is that they had things largely right, save that TOA energy rose faster or slower than anticipated. That's in essence already the conversation over the IPCC First assessment projections from the 20+ years ago.

    • by radtea ( 464814 )

      I'm pretty strongly supportive of both technological (nuclear, solar/storage) and political (carbon tax/tariff) approaches to climate change, but as a computational physicist I agree with your evaluation of models. They contain a lot of good science, but the non-physical parameterizations they depend on make them non-predictive, certainly with regard to the details of regional climates.

      Unfortunately, this published dataset reflects the hubris of climate scientists that they actually have predictive models,

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      With TOA energy being the ultimate overall driving force behind climate change, our predictions are still subject to the fact we aren't yet able to predict TOA energy.

      So the short version is climate models are worse than useless as a policy and planing tool, because we don't understand how the highest order component behaves.

    • Indeed.

      We need to continue to invest (massively) in climate research. At the same time, because there is uncertainty about model predictions we have to assume that the outcome could be worse the predictions, and begin mitigating against those outcomes immediately.

      It's a pity that model outcomes could not be more certain.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @12:48PM (#49884671) Journal

    Is this the un"adjusted" raw data, or does it have the various "adjustments" that have been applied to the historical data before in past releases?

    In my opinion, to conduct proper science on climatological measurements, the raw measurements should be available to all, to let everyone apply any "adjustments" and "corrections" they believe are necessary - and justified - taking them into account. Then each can properly check the works of their predecessors, and reach their own conclusions, without incorporating unknown distortions from previous work.

    If the maintainers of the archive believe adjustments are needed to deal with some measurement pathology, they are welcome to also release an open correction dataset or tool in parallel.

    With the low price and high speed of modern digital storage and processing devices, data set size and complexity is no excuse for withholding the raw data.

    • by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @01:12PM (#49884927)

      Is this the un"adjusted" raw data, or does it have the various "adjustments" that have been applied to the historical data before in past releases?

      Bwaahhahahah! Do you think they would actually release the real data? As we all know, governments are putting so much cash into climate change research that the money has totally distorted the scientific process. Hence the global conspiracy to secure as much as one million dollars of research money by the evil scientists, using any means available to hoodwink the public.

      Expect no truth from them. You must find it yourself, thermometer in hand. The truth is out there.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Poe's Law: If you hadn't dropped the Dr. Evil reference this would've been indistinguishable from the rantings of an actual climate change denialist.

        It's absolutely baffling - That people will actually believe that 98% of all the world's scientists are engaged in a mass conspiracy to commit the largest fraud the world has ever seen, while at the same time believing that the handful of corporations and billionaires who fund denialism are just innocently asking questions. Particuarly so since corporations hav

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In my opinion, to conduct proper science on climatological measurements, the raw measurements should be available to all, to let everyone apply any "adjustments" and "corrections" they believe are necessary - and justified - taking them into account. Then each can properly check the works of their predecessors, and reach their own conclusions, without incorporating unknown distortions from previous work.

      Your uninformed, uneducated opinion is worthless because you have zero understanding of data collection.

      Do you even understand what "unadjusted data" means?

      The answer is no, you don't; you are in fact completely ignorant on the subject.

      Perhaps you need to enroll in college with an ABET accredited engineering school, take 2 years of engineering and physics courses followed by a year of instrumentation courses then you might start to understand what is going on.

      There's a reason why scientists agree on what is

      • I understand how the republicans denying it is ignorance but scientists agreeing is more like willful disillusionment not ignorance.

    • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @01:40PM (#49885171)

      In my opinion, to conduct proper science on climatological measurements, the raw measurements should be available to all, ...

      Raw data is available on line. Most people are too lazy to look for it and even if they got it they wouldn't have a clue how to use it. The techniques used to make the adjustments are all out in the open too. Again, most people are too lazy or lack the technical knowledge to fully understand the adjustment methodology.

      Complaining about lack of raw data or hidden adjustment methodology just shows you haven't taken the time to even investigate if those claims are founded on anything and are relying on someone else telling you that is true.

      Here are the links for Berkeley Earth which is one of the more straightforward web sites to track down the data:

      Berkeley Earth - About the data set [berkeleyearth.org]

      Berkeley Earth - Source files [berkeleyearth.org]

    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @02:10PM (#49885393) Journal

      In my opinion, to conduct proper science on climatological measurements, the raw measurements should be available to all, to let everyone apply any "adjustments" and "corrections" they believe are necessary - and justified - taking them into account. Then each can properly check the works of their predecessors, and reach their own conclusions, without incorporating unknown distortions from previous work.

      Well, how "raw" do you want that data to be? Individual bits of the satellite telemetry? Scribbled notes in a scientist's lab-book? Actual tree-ring samples, and not just?

      Most "raw" data is unintelligble to anyone but the experimenters, until it is processed into a form suitable for sharing with others. Instrument calibrations, systematic effects, elimination of confounding factors, etc... all of these need to be performed by the scientists who are closest to the data and the instruments that provided it.

      Like it or not, the data needs to be curated in some way, before it can be consumed meaningfully by the larger community.

      If the maintainers of the archive believe adjustments are needed to deal with some measurement pathology, they are welcome to also release an open correction dataset or tool in parallel.

      Many scientists do, if it makes sense in context. See above.

      With the low price and high speed of modern digital storage and processing devices, data set size and complexity is no excuse for withholding the raw data.

      The size and complexity of some raw datasets can in fact make it unfeasible to provide in a meaningful way. Again, see above.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @02:35PM (#49885637)

      if they gave you the unadjusted data you would think global warming was 20% worse (warmer) than it is, because the overall effect of the adjustments has been to reduce the apparent warming shown in the data.

      and again the whole "just give us the data" argument seems silly. I mean, sure, they could give it to you (indeed if you dig the data is out there).

      but based on what precise qualifications will you be basing your second guessing ?

    • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @04:00PM (#49886343) Journal

      the raw measurements should be available to all
      Actually, that is the case. Go to the relevant research institutes web sites and download it. Pretty simple.

      You are a troll, right?

      We have an international treaty since roughly 50 years that makes all "western"(at least) weather and climate data freely (free as: for no charge) available for every one (commercial and non commercial use!!).

      Every idiot posting about raw data should know that instead of repeating old /. myths

  • Does it matter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @01:14PM (#49884949)

    Quite frankly, this topic has left all semblance of being in touch with reality. It does simply not matter how much proof you find for or against climate change. Neither side will give a shit about scientific data after they've invested pretty much everything and their reputation for it.

    I really, really hope the deniers are right. Sadly, I'm terribly afraid they ain't.

    • Yeah, it matters (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Wednesday June 10, 2015 @01:55PM (#49885297) Homepage Journal

      It's true: every denier is a worthless idiot, and the vast majority of those who accept anthropogenic climate change has a poor understanding of how and why it works. That's perhaps 90-95% of everybody discussing the question.

      But there are still perhaps 5-10% of people who have at least a rough grasp of what's going on, and they're capable of actually discussing the real questions. Not the stupid questions, which are a waste of everybody's time, but real ones, like "how can we refine the models?" and "what are we going to do about it?" The latter may seem irrelevant, since government action is stymied by denialists, and individual actions are largely unimportant. (I'm glad you bought a Prius, and it is helping a bit, but not nearly enough by several orders of magnitude.)

      Still... as bad as it is, stuff does get done. If we're locked in by chemistry and the suicide pact that our Constitution has turned into, we can at least take mitigating actions. The earlier we know about how agriculture is going to change, the better. We can take at least minor defensive measures for our flooded coastal cities. The US military needs to prepare for the various wars that are driven, in part, by climate-change driven poverty. It's even worthwhile to consider the "winners", like those Canadian farmers who will be able to take land that hasn't been touched and which finally has a growing season long enough.

      It's not optimal; it's not even as good as is pragmatically feasible. But it's the best we can do in that paradox of democracy, where somehow all of us collectively are supposed to be smarter than the average of us individually. The majority of deniers and the majority of well-meaning but clueless (albeit correct) believers roughly cancel out and hopefully, hopefully it leaves a tiny minority able to do something that's better than not knowing at all. Thin gruel, but it's the best we can get.

      • A small essay I wrote a few years ago:

        Not a denier, but I think there's a few things to understand. One, look at the history of this world, it's atmosphere has changed composition many many times through its long history, before we were even a dream in our ancestral DNA.

        Two, the amount of change occurring seems to me to vastly over stated. There's change. Sure we caused it, we're a part of this planet, our activities affect the planet. Have to a utter moron to deny that.

        Three, on a whole, the big picture, c

    • From articles I've read, a feedback loop in the atlantic ocean is already triggered. Genie is out of the bottle. Adapt or die.

      • I have no problem, I live inland, with a few 100 meters between me and the sea level.

        Essentially, what I need to know is whether it's ok to shoot on sight when the shore dwellers start climbing.

  • Their top projection - the one that's getting a lot of play - suggests they think we're going to hit 935 ppm CO2 by 2099.

    Which is nearly twice what most of the "mainstream" projections calls for, and is pretty much fantasy at this point - it's above the IPCC's worst case scenario (and a couple of hundred ppm above anything like a reasonable example).

    The one that's closest to reality is for 538 ppm CO2 - and you have to look pretty close to notice any difference from right now. Although they gave us some "19

  • NASA is releasing global climate change projections to help scientists and planners better understand local and global effects of hazards.

    Now if they'd only make available [1] the models (as in code) used to generate those projections and [2] a supercomputer to run it on, then someone could actually use this. The historical data has been available to interested scientists for a long time: releasing it to the public on a website provides only the appearance of openness. Without the transparency of how those projections were generated, the value of them is the same as a press release from a known politically-biased entity. (Yes, I'm talking abo

    • Now if they'd only make available [1] the models (as in code) ...

      The code for many climate models is available if you care to take the time to look for it. For instance the NASA/GISS Model E code. [nasa.gov] Finding a supercomputer to run it on is a problem but you can scale it down to run on your PC if you like.

  • While I appreciate the opportunity to download 11TB of data, it would be a lot nicer if there was a high-level summary somewhere of what the projections are actually indicating are most likely to happen. I've looked but can't find one. Anyone found anything?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's basically what the IPCC reports are, and if that's still too much detail they have a ~10 page summary for policy makers which summarizes the IPCC report into a series of predictions, estimates and assessments

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