Feeds

CSIRO opens Cape Grim pollution data

Also opens new solar power demonstrator

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.