By Paul N. Edwards
The technological know-how in the back of worldwide warming, and its heritage: how scientists discovered to appreciate the ambience, to degree it, to track its previous, and to version its destiny.
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Extra resources for A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming
Between 1914 and 1960 (Hewson’s second phase), the pace of infrastructural linking diminished, and some delinking occurred. Yet simultaneously, world organizations such as the League of Nations and the International Monetary Fund “established the legitimacy of producing globalist information”—that is, information about the whole world—in such areas as health, armaments, and public ﬁnance (although they did not yet achieve that goal). Hewson’s third phase brought generalized attainment of the two previous eras’ aspirations, beginning with worldwide civil communication networks (from the 1967 inauguration of the Intelsat 24 Chapter 1 system) and global environmental monitoring (from the UN Conference on the Human Environment, 1972).
It also directs us to attend closely to the political, legal, economic, and institutional dimensions of network formation. To understand global warming as an object of knowledge, however, we need more than this. We want to know not just how weather and climate data get moved around—like conversations in the telephone system or electric power through transmission lines—but also how they get created in the ﬁrst place, how they are transformed into intelligible and reliable information, and, most important, how that information becomes knowledge.
2 The global meteorological data, telecommunication, and forecast network as it looks today. RTH stands for regional telecommunications hub and NMS for national meteorological service. Courtesy of World Meteorological Organization. 6 Chapter 1 components: the Global Observing System, the Global Telecommunication System, and the Global Data Processing and Forecast System. Together they collect, process, and archive hundreds of terabytes6 of weather and climate data each year. With all those numbers, ﬁnding evidence of global warming should be simple enough.
A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming by Paul N. Edwards