Pearce on Climategate - A force for good
Climategate was 'a game-changer' in science reporting, say climatologists | Environment | The Guardian
Science has been changed forever by the so-called "climategate" saga, leading researchers have said ahead of publication of an inquiry into the affair – and mostly it has been changed for the better.
"The release of the emails was a turning point, a game-changer," said Mike Hulme, professor of climate change at the University of East Anglia. "The community has been brought up short by the row over their science. Already there is a new tone. Researchers are more upfront, open and explicit about their uncertainties, for instance."
And there will be other changes, said Hulme. The emails made him reflect how "astonishing" it was that it had been left to individual researchers to police access to the archive of global temperature data collected over the past 160 years. "The primary data should have been properly curated as an archive open to all." He believes that will now happen....
The veteran Oxford science philosopher Jerome Ravetz says the role of the blogosphere in revealing the important issues buried in the emails means it will assume an increasing role in scientific discourse. "The radical implications of the blogosphere need to be better understood." Curry too applauds the rise of the "citizen scientist" triggered by climategate, and urges scientists to embrace them.
But greater openness and engagement with their critics will not ensure that climate scientists have an easier time in future, warns Hulme. Back in the lab, a new generation of more sophisticated computer models is failing to reduce the uncertainties in predicting future climate, he says – rather, the reverse. "This is not what the public and politicians expect, so handling and explaining this will be difficult."