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Climate Scientist: Trump Administration Deleting Data

| by Ray Brown

A climate scientist has claimed that her research into how climate change is affecting the Arctic is being deleted by President Donald Trump's administration.

"At first, the distress flare of lost data came as a surge of defunct links on [Jan. 21]," wrote climate scientists Victoria Herrman for The Guardian. "The US National Strategy for the Arctic, the Implementation Plan for the Strategy, and the report on our progress all gone within a matter of minutes. As I watched more and more links turned red, I frantically combed the internet for archived versions of our country’s most important polar policies. I had no idea then that this disappearing act had just begun."

Herrmann, President and Managing Director of The Arctic Institute, went on to say that there has been a "slow, incessant march of deleting datasets, webpages and policies about the Arctic."

"I now come to expect a weekly email request to replace invalid citations, hoping that someone had the foresight to download statistics about Arctic permafrost thaw or renewable energy in advance of the purge," she added.

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But Herrman said this wasn't the first time she has seen a government delete data that it believed didn't fit their message on the current conditions of climate change.

"Just three years ago, Arctic researchers witnessed another world leader remove thousands of scientific documents from the public domain," she said. "In 2014, then-Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper closed 11 department of fisheries and oceans regional libraries, including the only Arctic center. Hundreds of reports and studies containing well over a century of research were destroyed in that process -- a historic loss from which we still have not recovered."

But compounded with her current allegations against the Trump administration, it means an all-out assault on scientific data.

"These back-to-back data deletions come at a time when the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average," she wrote. "Just this week, it was reported that the Arctic’s winter sea ice dropped to its lowest level in recorded history. The impacts of a warming, ice-free Arctic are already clear: a decline in habitat for polar bears and other Arctic animals; increases in coastal erosion that force Alaskans to abandon their homes; and the opening up of shipping routes with unpredictable conditions and hazardous icebergs."

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Herrman isn't the only climate scientists who has spoken out against data deletion.

According to Wired, a group of scientists have banded together to save information that is at risk of being erased by the Trump administration.

"Climate change data is just the tip of the iceberg," said Eric Kansa, an anthropologist who manages archeological data archives for the non-profit group Open Context. "There are a huge number of other datasets being threatened with cultural, historical, sociological information."

Sources: The Guardian, Wired / Photo credit: U.S. Geological Survey/Flickr

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