In the Climate Group we rely extensively on the data produced from general circulation models (GCMs) to answer fundamental science questions. Analysis of the model data is then used to support the scientific conclusions in our publications. This has raised many issues for us regarding archiving, accessibility and documentation of our results. This in turn leads to the fundamental issue of the integrity and reproducibility of our modeling experiments. Typically the published data of modelers consists of figures, processed data (such correlations, EOF patterns and other statistical analyses) and tables of area averaged, depth integrated, time smoothed data. Due primarily to size constraints, the `raw' computer output is not available for further analysis by scientists who wish to further explore the results. Furthermore, the source code for the models themselves is difficult to duplicate exactly. Even local scientists (same group at the same institution) who repeat a model run frequently report different results due to some unknown combination of code evolution, change in personnel, migration of computer platforms and data storage, or lack of proper documentation of parameters. This disturbing state of affairs wastes computer and personnel resources and fundamentally compromises the scientific effort itself.
Climate Model Data Documentation Project