Friday, 6 February 2009

getting somewhere

Well I've put a ridiculous amount of my spare time into the big list of climate scientists - and as one respondent pointed out, many non-scientists or non-specialists who have also chimed in on the topic. I've been publicizing more recently, and I'm starting to get some very nice feedback, including from several prominent names on the list. It's a surreal experience to look in my inbox and see a name I know from reading assignments in my climatology course.

Anyway, I feel the list I've put together so far does a reasonable job of illustrating who is getting cited widely, as well as who is signing which kind of climate declaration. I'm struck by just now many of these declarations there have been. This morning I got an email pointing out two more activist statements by Swiss scientists. Earlier this week I found the original list from the skeptics' Leipzig Declaration (1995) and I believe there may be something from the skeptics back to 1992, still waiting to be tracked down and collated.

I found some nice freeware for building interactive timelines for the web, and I've been meaning to try out one of these for a timeline of climate statements; I could show dates of the Toronto conference in 1988, the IPCC ARs in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007; the US NAS assessments, and the statements from science academies worldwide; then all the open letters and declarations both activist and skeptical that I've been logging here. I could make a bar showing the long time span that the OISM list has been accumulating... this should be interesting, if I can just get to it.

Until last month, I had only known of one skeptics' letter to the Canadian PM (CA06) and the activist climate scientist response later that same month (CMOS130). Then I did more digging and found the earlier CA02 and CA03 letters. Considering just Canadians, the CMOS 130 outnumber the 21 Canadians on the CA06 letter by six to one - and as for the broader case, the Canadian skeptics are also skewed toward retirees, non-scientists or non-climate-scientists, and many have little or no standing as far as citations to peer-reviewed publication.

At one point I'd had in mind to take Canada as a more tractable subset of the world population of climate scientists and skeptics. I have no hope of filling out the list with every possible climate scientist around the world, but for Canada I've got a reasonable first cut already. I might still want to include this argument in my analysis: I may not have anywhere near complete coverage of the world, but I've got most of the Canadians listed and counted (a lot of the CMOS130 names are still not done though.) My separate page for Canada could be the place to focus on the CA02-03-06 letters and the CMOS letter.

Of course, skeptic spinmeisters could then claim that Canada is not a representative sub-sample of the world's scientists. I doubt I could talk them out of that viewpoint; maybe we really are all pinkos with our socialized medicine where you can't have your policy canceled for having used it, and our gun registry, and that pinko David Suzuki on our government-run CBC (the one station on my radio dial with no commercials - I'm spoiled now and have to clench my teeth through those yelling matches and jingles waiting for a traffic update on AM - Ahh-LAARRRM Forrrrrce!)

1 comment:

naughteco1 said...

Hey Jim,
great resource, but looks like a painful way to collate data - static HTML pages. Have you looked at doing something database driven? There are plenty of CMSs out there that could do something like this, and split it up into pages, and automatically sort/filter by what ever fields, to reduce downloads etc.

Something like SemanticMediaWiki could also work.