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backup plans

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Totally chill scientists try to download government climate data before it disappears forever.

It’s not like anyone thinks Trump’s appointees will delete or suppress valuable troves of data including CO2 levels, sea and land surface temperatures, ice sheet thickness, sea-level rise maps, changes in the Gulf Stream, and more … right?

Just in case, scientists have started to make copies of vast historical data sets currently housed on government servers, the Washington Post reports. Climate Mirror, a project duplicating important public data sets, launched with a tweet from journalist Eric Holthaus and is organized by University of California at Davis environmental researcher Nick Santos.

Santos told the Post, “Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a sudden seems potentially realistic.” With openly science-denying fossil fuel boosters heading agencies that collect and host this key research, the scientific community is understandably worried.

It wouldn’t be the first time that researchers were muzzled by a conservative administration: During the Bush years, climate scientists were “systematically” censored, according to a 2007 report from the House Oversight Committee.

Other efforts to protect this data include “guerrilla archiving” events and End of Term, a nonpartisan Library of Congress project to preserve a copy of all .gov sites as they stand at the end of the 2016 administration.