To increase public confidence

Clear Climate Code’s goal number 3:

To increase public confidence in climate science results.

In a comment on an earlier blog post, NikFromNYC says:

The stated goal of this project, “To increase public confidence in climate science results”, is incompatible with the idea that you intend to present any findings that conflict with said goal.

I can’t help feeling that someone’s tongue is slightly in their cheek, but it’s a serious point nonetheless. If we were to find something that was seriously in conflict with the current climate science results (and me and Nick have in the past joked about discovering that global warming was all down to a bug on line 279 of the Fortran program foobar.f), would we publish it? Of course we would.

Our plan to increase public confidence in climate science results isn’t to hide stuff that we find that conflicts with current results. Where we find problems with the results we intend to show why they’re wrong and get then corrected. Hopefully the corrected results will attract more confidence. How do we show that the results are correct? By having clearer code.

I should note that “to increase public confidence in climate science results” is not “the stated goal of this project”; it is merely a goal, not the goal. Goal number 3. Clear Climate Code is about software, and we are mostly software engineers. When Nick started the project, we deliberately picked something where we could use our expertise to make a difference. There are many things that can be done to increase public confidence in climate science results, what we will be doing is producing clearer code. We each make a difference where we can.

4 Responses to “To increase public confidence”

  1. NikFromNYC Says:

    The Clear Climate Code project has earned my respect and enthusiastic support, now that the short term limits of its third itemized mission statement has been clarified to my satisfaction. I encourage them in the future to not remain neutral, however, but to stake claims. Why? Because few others have the competency to do so with any skill. If not them, then who? They suggest (in comments) that it should be me, via hiring my own programing team. Fair enough. Yet even if they with great discipline stick to code clarification alone, their service to the cause of calming down cultural confusion about climate change can only be regarded as being priceless, selfless and heroic.

  2. drj Says:

    Thanks. Always nice to receive fan mail.

    I did add a GISTEMP tab which stakes this claim: «It is our opinion that the GISTEMP code performs substantially as documented in Hansen, J.E., and S. Lebedeff, 1987: Global trends of measured surface air temperature. J. Geophys. Res., 92, 13345-13372., the GISTEMP documentation, and other papers describing updates to the procedure.» (and then Nick told me off for giving the impression that we have an official line, which we don’t).

    Have you tried getting a handful of programmers to agree anything?

  3. steven mosher Says:

    great job guys!

  4. Tristan Coleman Says:

    The effects of Global Warming is getting much stronger these days. We should concentrate more on alternative energy to reduce carbon emissions.

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