Feeds

CSIRO opens Cape Grim pollution data

Also opens new solar power demonstrator

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Amid Australia’s acrimonious debate over climate science, the country’s peak science body, CSIRO, has taken the bold step of making 35 years’ worth of atmospheric CO2 data directly available to the public.

It comes in a debate so inflamed that even a call for more reasoned debate was enough to bring death threats directed towards the CEO of the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies yesterday. Anna-Maria Arabia was leading a group of 200 scientists who visited the Australian parliament to ask politicians to help fight misinformation in the public debate.

In part, CSIRO hopes that its open publication of the data – which has previously been released through the much slower processes involved in international bodies – can take some heat out of the argument.

“The data are publicly available, with no strings attached and no outside interpretation,” said Dr Paul Fraser of CSIRO. “It’s freeing up the process by which the public has access to this data.”

CSIRO’s data provides records collected at the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania since 1976. According to Dr Fraser, Cape Grim’s records provide high-quality data for the Southern Hemisphere that covers concentrations of CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC and HFC, perfluorocarbon, and sulfur hexafluoride.

At launch, the site provides the data as graphs, but Dr Fraser said the public will shortly be able to download the raw monthly mean data that the station collects.

Over time, he said, CSIRO plans to extend the release to include “proxy” data such as CO2 concentrations measured from Antarctic ice cores.

Fraser also says the site is able to distinguish between volcanic CO2 and that caused by combustion. “Volcanic CO2 has a certain isotopic signature, which is completely different to that coming from fossil fuels,” he said.

The correlation between CO2 concentration and oxygen concentration is also indicative, he said: when an increase in CO2 is mirrored by a decrease in oxygen concentration, “that’s clearly indicative of a combustion process.”

However, he emphasized that the data release isn’t about CSIRO’s interpretation: anybody who wants to conduct their own analysis can do so, and will be able to discuss their interpretations of the data with scientists.

It’s been a busy week for CSIRO, which on the weekend opened a solar-thermal demonstration site in Newcastle over the weekend. The solar thermal field, tower and research facility will use focused mirrors to heat air to drive its turbines, rather than water – making the technology suitable for a country that suffers from a chronic lack of water.

On the 4,000 square metre demonstration site, incoming fresh air is heated to more than 900 degrees Celsius by 450 heliostats. The hot air then drives a 200kW air turbine in a 30-metre tower.

Images and videos are here. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?