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'No Results Found': Thousands of Climate Science Links Purged From USGS Online Database

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USGS Science Explorer page has zero search results for "effects of climate change." It previously had 2,825 items, according to climate scientist Peter Gleick.

Yet another U.S. agency has deleted climate change information from its website. This time, the U.S. Geological Survey's "Science Explorer" website—a tax-payer funded online database for the public to browse USGS science programs and activities—has been purged of thousands of formerly searchable climate science links.

The startling discovery was made by Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and member of the U.S. National Academy of Science.


"I didn't realize how badly Trump has eviscerated access to federal #climate data, so I went and looked at the USGS site," he tweeted Sunday.

In a series of tweets, Gleick noted the extent to which climate-related links have been expunged from the site a month after Donald Trump took over the White House:

  • In December, there were 5,932 climate science items linked there (9 were just pictures). Today there are 416 and 292 are just pictures.
  • In December 2016, 320 of those items were links to #climate data. Today, 0 links to data. 5,271 were web links. Now, 0 web links. "And the USGS "Effects of #Climate Change" webpage had 2,825 items in December. Today, that page has zero items.
  • And the USGS "Effects of #Climate Change" webpage had 2,825 items in December. Today, that page has zero items.

Gleick found the archived pages with the Wayback Machine, but pointed out on Twitter that "archived pages are no substitute for real public access."

He also told ThinkProgress: "This is shocking in the extent of the changes, and distressing in the sense that publicly funded data and science should be easily accessible, not hidden, and the changes move us in the wrong direction. Every federal agency website has undergone changes like this."

Last month, the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative noticed that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) "altered climate change language, updated climate change references, and reduced access to a Web resource with information on climate change and human health across several webpages."

The effects of climate change are inextricably linked to human health. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that traps heat in the atmosphere, causing global temperatures to spike, air quality to worsen, all while fueling droughts, floods and storms that impact food and water security.

But the president, as well as many leaders of the Republican party and among the administration, treat climate science with skepticism to outright denial. Media outlets have also reported that staffers from other federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy, have been instructed to specifically avoid the phrase "climate change."

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