Censoring climate science?

I’ve been seeing a number of panicked reports recently about climate science in the USA being censored. So far, however, every US Government climate-related website I’ve checked is still online:

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

“NCEI provides analyses of weather and climate events, placing them into proper historical perspective, understanding their unusualness, and increasingly comparing recent events to expectations of future climate conditions… NCEI publishes the most recent national and international reports on the state of the climate as well as various other peer-reviewed papers and articles.” – Climate pages online.


“The mission of ‘Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet’ is to provide the public with accurate and timely news and information about Earth’s changing climate, along with current data and visualizations, presented from the unique perspective of NASA, the world’s leading climate research agency.” – Climate pages online.


“EPA partners with more than 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change. The indicators are published in EPA’s report, Climate Change Indicators in the United States…” – Climate pages online.

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture

“The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences…” – Climate pages online.


“The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” – Climate pages online.

We’ll see if that changes, I guess. There does seem to have been a dispute about politically-charged tweets from official NPS Twitter accounts. That dispute underscores the guideline that official tweets should be, well, official. Like other social media, Twitter allows people to blur the line between personal opinions and official announcements. Being rapid, it also does not fit well with an official publication approval process, which can lead to problems. In the case of the disputed tweets, NPS social media guidelines may well have been breached, so a reaction was hardly surprising. I do hope that the NPS as a whole doesn’t intend to be politically active, though, since that could end rather badly for both the NPS and the USA – the job of the NPS is an important one.


Twitter and global mobility patterns

A fascinating recent paper on arXiv.org, entitled “Geo-located Twitter as the proxy for global mobility patterns” (also reported on the MIT technology review) uses Twitter to study human movement (the study is based on a dataset of almost a billion tweets). The CIRCOS image below shows the top 30 country-to-country visitor flows, as estimated by the authors. Ribbon colours indicate trip destination, so Mexico-based Twitterers visiting the US are a major category. While the US is the most common travel destination, Russia is the most common point of origin.

There’s lots more in the paper: it’s well worth a read. Twitterers may not be totally representative of the world population, but there are still many interesting conclusions to be drawn here, and an opportunity for even more interesting follow-up work.

Network diagram from Hawelka, Sitko, Beinat, Sobolevsky, Kazakopoulos, and Ratti: “Geo-located Twitter as the proxy for global mobility patterns”

A-twitter with anger and joy

A recent paper from China studies traffic on Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter), and finds that “users influence each other emotionally… the correlation of anger among users is significantly higher than that of joy, which indicates that angry emotion could spread more quickly and broadly in the network.”

The image below (from the paper) shows some of the emotional connections (red indicates anger, green joy, blue sadness, and black disgust). It would certainly be interesting to repeat this fascinating study in other countries!