Friday, December 13, 2013

Shaking the Cup for Science

This being the Christmas season, a time of good cheer, charity and thoughtfulness Eli would like to direct the bunnies attention towards support of a cultural icon and a vital climate data set, the Keeling curve.  As many are aware funding for long term data sets has always been a problem.  The new, the sexy, the different are things that funding agencies have always wanted.  Credit to Charles and now Ralph Keeling who have soldiered through tough times to provide us with a reliable, nay a painstakingly reliable record of carbon dioxide mixing ratios.

UPDATE:  Fergus Brown joins the campaign

Why should it matter? Because it is difficult enough to achieve public recognition of AGW without making a mess of the important work which lies at the heart of the science, as well as the public outreach. Because we need to know. Because the best science (and climate change projections) comes from the best observations.

If you understand the importance of us having datasets like this, and the importance of consistency and continuity, I follow Eli in suggesting that you may wish to make a small donation. This process has been shown to be effective and the 'cause' in this case is eminently worthy. Give if you can, and promote publically.
Spencer Weart describes the uncertainty of early days, with a telling paragraph
"Monitoring" a gas in the atmosphere seemed just dull plodding around a beaten track, calling to mind the discredited statistical climatology of an earlier generation. The NSF was supposed to fund pathbreaking science, and officials looked for striking new results, new ideas that could be published in leading scientific journals — not just that steady, relentless upward march of data points, year after year after year. A reviewer who grudgingly supported one of Keeling's proposals remarked in 1979, " CO2 monitoring is like motherhood.... It does appear, however, that the former is even more expensive."
and indeed there is a break in the records where the equipment went south and funds to repair it had to be begged, borrowed, and well, let Eli simply say that Charles David Keeling was, as Roger Revelle said
"Keeling's a peculiar guy.  He wants to measure CO2 in his belly... And he wants to measure it with the greatest precision and the greatest accuracy he possibly can." 
And he did and the results have served us well for understanding climate.

But, and there always is a but, hard times are upon Ralph Keeling and Scripps.  Funding is vanishing, and Scripps has launched an appeal.  Well, scientist like they buried their lede. 

Take a look at the Keeling Curve web site.  Where is the appeal?

 Up there on the left.  Eli OTOH, whatever the Rabett is, is not subtle.

So Ms. Rabett has taken it upon Eli to take up the challenge, and ask the bunnies to support the Keeling Curve.  Follow the link, then hit the small button at the bottom of the linked page and donate, a tax deduction, at least in the US.  Alternatively mash the large red GIVE button at the top of the blog and just below.   Let us get the ball rolling.

Eli would hope that other bloggers spread the word, not only the Friends of the Rabett, but maybe some of those who hold him not so dear.  This is an effort everyone should take part in.  Will this be necessary on an ongoing basis, it is difficult to say, but if bridge funding is not found quickly the measurements will not be continuous, and worse.


Anonymous said...

Paypal option would be good

EliRabett said...

Eli will suggest it, but this way is a lot simpler for generating tax free records and accounting for the flow of funds.


Unknown said...

Sufficiently worthy to justify support, irrespective of the annoyance at the impact of budget-slashing:

Sou said...

I read about how the project is short of funding but I don't understand it. I'd have thought it a very high priority attracting Federal Government funding.

Seems very odd.


Any curve that monotonic presents a temptation to save cash by letting it take a sabattical

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I agree, what's the point? We should just check it once a decade to make sure it's still on track, lol.

Neal J. King said...

It might be a bit more motivating to mention some kind of target figure; or information such as, "It takes $XXX to run the station for a year."

dbostrom said...

I see Eli's point about running this this UCSD for tax purposes but the lab needs to get their fundraising game on.

-- Goal: mandatory.

-- Progress toward goal: mandatory.

Both are missing. UCSD's fundraising arm is entirely too sleepy to handle this properly.

If anybody knows somebody, get 'em to start running the campaign on a realtime basis, so those of us who are going to help promote this have something to work with.

EliRabett said...

Bunnies, this is a moving target, and most of these things will be added in time. Let us first see if we can get some leverage here. This is really the first day of the blog effort, and Eli is trying to get other blogs interesting.

The full amount needed from all sources is a few hundred K$/year, but let us get some momentum first

And oh yes, is there is a fat bunny out there who would like to match???

Hank Roberts said...

Contributed; noted this is where I learned about it.

David Brin and John Baez, who know a lot of physicists, might be responsive.

I see solar-oven bake sales as a distinct possibility here, for the publicity value.


Can we ask the AGU to put a Good Instumental Causes paypal widget up on EOS?

Anonymous said...

Not going to contribute. This is a milking attempt by US government. Maybe you'll get some green groups contributing and then a (later) government can state the green groups are influencing the results. It's also obvious US government isn't interested on what gases are present on an insignificant volcanic rock somewhere outside the congress building. I'm a bit sad for the discontinuation, but I guess there are some other stations that can fill in a record in more sensible locations.

Brian said...

Kicked in a little cash, now time to Tweet it.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be a reflection of the similar abrogation of duty by the current conservative Australian government when they killed the Climate Commission and attempted to kill several other climate change instrumentalities (the job will be finished once a plaint senate comes in next year). The Liberal [sic] Party and its National Party coalition partners are hell-bent on stifling any and every rational attempt to mitigate the coming self-destruction of humanity and it disheartens me to see that their ague has spread to other jurisdictions.

*Langage warning...*

Whether this insanity arises from sociopathy, from mental retardation, from a superstitious fundamentalist Armageddon death-wish, or from any of a number of other intellectual aberrations, I say fuck 'em. I will contribute to the Keeling operation, as I did for the Climate Council which arose from the ashes of the Climate Commission, and I will do so as much as I can until I'm spent. I want future historians to know that I tried, and also to know who it was who FUBARed the future of humanity.

Bernard J.

Anonymous said...



Bernard J.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Rabett for making Eli put up the big red button.

Donation made.

Torsten in BC

Hank Roberts said...

> I'm a bit sad for the
> discontinuation, but
> I guess there are some
> other stations that can
> fill in a record

Oh, so you _do_ want an argument?

Creating the need for econciling different instruments to prolong the inability to reach a conclusion is a political goal, not an accident.

Mal Adapted said...

Clicked Eli's big red button, donated $100.

"Not going to contribute. This is a milking attempt by US government. Maybe you'll get some green groups contributing and then a (later) government can state the green groups are influencing the results."

I have some of the same concerns, although it's specifically science-denying Republicans in Congress that are trying to defund it, not the entire U.S. government. I donated anyway. Maintaining a continuous record of atmospheric CO2 and 02 changes is too important to let it be shut down. And visible public support may persuade more rational Congresscritters of its value.

Anonymous said...

'wereatheist' here. Is there a way, by which I, a fucking Kraut, living in Krautland, can contribute?

EliRabett said...

If you have a VISA, Master Card, American Express, Discover or JCB card you can use that.

For amounts under $1000 that should work easily with minimum bother. For larger amounts, Eli would suggest contacting the Scripps Development office

Senior Director of Development, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
(858) 534-8490

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I'm not a big fan of Scripps. After watching them in action dredging coral reefs for sponges to melt down for profit, I gave up on them.

No money for Scripps here, certainly not for something that is now as unnecessary as monitoring CO2. These are not nice people in the field.


As any room with a view on the big island can be rented to a tourist , why not add a sunset view lanai well downwind of the air intake and make the station into an ecotourist pit stop, sutable for chilling out after a sweaty week of volcano gawking .

The selling point would be that Mona kea is a bit of a wheeze at 4km elevation , but Mona Loa is not much higher than some Colorado film festivals, and snow-free.

Bill Koch might chip in to build such a chalet pour epater les freres

Susan Anderson said...

Indeed a worthy cause, and sad to see the suppression of knowledge proceed apace. Don't know why they think not getting information will change reality. Shame!

EliRabett said...

Susan and other bunnies, please do shake the cup for science wherever you go.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

I'm not opposed to knowledge Susan, but this is something that is well understood. What I would rather see is a small solid state device that can measure CO2 concentration instantly across a wide range of values for grow rooms and habitats. Atmospheric concentration changes slowly and the heat trapping effect is a slowly changing bulk effect that is not going to change much.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Thomas, All of the relevant science behind anthropogenic global warming is well understood--and still vigorously denied. A long-term dataset showing the monotonic rise provides one more blunt object with which we can attempt to persuade the denialists.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

You need to give up on those people, they aren't going to change, and the monotonic increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration isn't changing much either. At most we need to check it once a year at maximum.

On the other hand, putting denialists inside an inflatable ball with a wrist or hand held CO2 detector will bring them around in a real hurry on the necessity and veracity of habitat carbon dioxide management. Grow room people have been aware of these problems for decades, not the least of which is the thermal management and heat radiation problems of intense carbon fueled light sources inside of a small habitat. These the kinds of basic physics and chemistry phenomena that can easily be demonstrated to children in their classrooms. The problem is cultural and not the lack instrumentation and data.

If you want to see farce, just take a look at condo construction. Humanity is a fucking joke dilbert. Not the least scientist. Scripps burned me badly, and I rarely give people a second chance.

EliRabett said...

The Scripps program measures not only CO2 at Mauna Loa, but also at many other sites across the Pacific from pole to pole The Scripps program measures not only CO2 at Mauna Loa, but also at many other sites across the Pacific from pole to pole as well as isotopic ratio changes. Map here The annual variations as well as the O2 measurements give us a picture of seasonal changes and interchanges in the oceans, atmosphere and biosphere. Thomas you are pretty much feeding your own delusions.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Yes, I am deluded that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere, increasing steadily and shows no sign of slowing down, causing irreversible thermal and ocean acidification changes that monitoring has no effect on at all. And scientist have done NOTHING to slow it down for decades now, well aware of the problems and need for action. Monitoring the problem is not action, whatever you might think. The recent call for full on nuclear is equally lame and stupid. I've seen enough of Scripps in action to know I want no part of anything they are doing.

EliRabett said...

Of the four sons, Thomas, you are not the wise one, the wicked one, or the simple one, but you sure do not know what question is being asked.

Brian said...

The people we need to persuade are the fence sitters, as well as relieve the doubts of anyone who's mostly on the side of science but doesn't yet know the basics. Extending this dataset will help. Killing it will be yet another tool the denialists will use to say "alarmists" are running away from the science. Skeptics should want to see the dataset continue.

Jim Bouldin said...

Well the whole lab up there on Mauna Loa should have dedicated funding, for sure, and not just for CO2 monitoring. But on July 1, when OCO2 goes up, we enter a truly new age in CO2 monitoring that along with the continuing expansion of flux towers, just blows the current monitoring system right out of the water. Don't worry, we're going to know how much CO2 is in the atmosphere, everywhere.

Jim Bouldin said...

If you want to be amazed at the power of environmental science in 2013, read about the OCO2 mission and sensor:

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The Keeling curve is like so 50's early 60's man, they taught us this stuff way back in my post-Sputnik elementary school. Get over it.

Mal Adapted said...


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The Keeling curve is like so 50's early 60's man, they taught us this stuff way back in my post-Sputnik elementary school. Get over it."

In science, doing the same thing over and over again is called long-term monitoring. Seeing something different when you're expecting the same result is called interesting. What you learned in elementary school is called the initial condition, what's been observed since then is called a trend

Some of us think maintaining the continuous record of atmospheric C02 and 02 at a fixed location is worth contributing a few spare bucks to. Get over it.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Go right ahead, because clearly the federal government is no longer responsible for this kind of idiotic repetitive nonsense when far more effective and dramatic 21st century obervations using modern satellite observations are possible. It would be beneficial if we could track the CO2 plumes as they are emitted and dissipate. We already know that CO2 concentration will rise at an average of 2 to 3 ppm per year with seasonal fluctuations. We don't need to know that a thousand times over all over the world. It's nonsense science that has been replicated a thousand times over already. It's not even clever or interesting anymore except to the obsessive. People that contribute to this are wasting their money, but clearly I agree its their money to waste. That graciousness no longer extend to the federal government in my world. Sorry.

Jim Bouldin said...

Elfritz, have a beer and watch some hockey or something. You still need to have calibration against air samples and Mauna Loa provides that.