Published March 1, 2010 | Version v1
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Should Citizen Scientists Play with Ecosystem Models?


  • 1. DTU Aqua


A series of recent events has fuelled a hot debate over the transparency and credibility of climate research. While the debate between sceptics and believers may continue, the circumstances have provided good context for “citizen science” to spill over into climate research.

The concept is not a new one and already applied in astronomy & planetary science, archaeology and biodiversity studies. The idea is that volunteers participate in tasks where human perception and common sense are needed, without the time-consuming scientific training. So could the concept work in something as technical, multi-disciplinary and complex as Global Climate Change modelling?

Earlier this year, the Clear Climate Code Project (CCC; set up by the staff of the Cambridge-based Ravenbrook Limited software engineering consultancy (, published their own version of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies GIS-TEMP Model.

CCC is a volunteer-based project founded on the premise that “The results of some climate-related software are used as the basis for important public policy decisions. If the software is not clearly correct, decision-making will be obscured by debates about it”. The goals of the small group of software engineers are to: 1) produce clear climate science software; 2) encourage the production of clear climate science software; 3) increase public confidence in climate science results, without judgement or arbitration of climate science.



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MEECE – Marine Ecosystem Evolution in a Changing Environment 212085
European Commission