Big Data, Meta Data? Just consider the thousands of weather monitors working daily around the world, the thousands more locations monitored by satellite. Pile this onto archaeological records of CO2, temperature, rainfall, ocean saline and acidity, pollen. From ice 800,000 years old, from hair and teeth a hundred thousand years old, from amber, from shells, from the mud under glaciers, the data pours in. All this indicates a trend that says we are warming, acidifying the ocean, polluting and killing. Yet, every week if you prowl the environmental sites some prediction or trend is changed. But in virtually every example the rate of harm we are doing is set steeper, sooner, more dire. Deniers grab each modification to the data as proof of uncertainty and lies, when it is in fact a refinement, proving over and over the evidence and models are on the right track.
My son has a friend, a professor of "big data". We have so much of it, a new science is developing just to organize it, and see into it, locate trends that are not apparent due to the massive amount of it. As you might know, the NSA and NASA are pretty good at it already. Some retailers are trying to get good at it (not so happy about that). Most every field of science has so much data scattered in labs, libraries, computers and publications around the world, getting a handle on this is what big data is going to do, and fast. The overwhelming certainty of some issues are going to be tough to put off with "doubt" or "faith" in the next few years. Can't turn back progress, so I hope for the best. As the data out there becomes more organized and more firm in it's trends it's going to fall hard on the Luddites of climate denial and some religious/political issues.