By Paul N. Edwards
The technological know-how at the back of worldwide warming, and its historical past: how scientists discovered to appreciate the ambience, to degree it, to track its prior, and to version its destiny.
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Extra info for A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming
1 Thinking Globally In 1968, three American astronauts became the ﬁrst human beings ever to see Earth’s full disk from space. President Lyndon B. Johnson mailed framed copies of the Apollo mission’s photographs to the leaders of every nation as an allegory of the inevitable unity that encompasses all human division and diversity and binds us to the natural world. By then, of course, representations of Earth as a globe were already centuries old. Nevertheless, many saw a transﬁguring power in the awesome beauty of those famous photographs.
Other “non-climatic factors” in historical data stem from garbled communication, coding errors, and other noise. To decide whether you are seeing homogeneous data or “nonclimatic factors,” you need to examine the history of the infrastructure station by station, year by year, and data point by data point, all in the context of changing standards, institutions, and communication techniques. That history, as I intimated earlier, has been deeply problematic for climatology. By the early twentieth century, weather forecasting and climatology had diverged.
During that period, most data network development was driven by the internal systembuilding dynamics of national weather services. International data networks remained a secondary priority. IMO standards acted as guidelines, routinely violated but nevertheless producing considerable convergence. As predicted by the LTS model, this phase of technology transfer and growth resulted in numerous different systems, some linked and others not, all governed by a loose patchwork of conﬂicting national, regional, and international standards.
A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming by Paul N. Edwards