Recently, a friend sent me a Wired article entitled “The Power and Paradox of Bad Software”. The short piece, written by Paul Ford, discusses the idea that the software industry might be too obsessed with creating better and better tools for itself while neglecting mundane software such as resource scheduling systems or online library catalogs. The author claims that the winners of the bad software lottery are the computational scientists that develop our climate models. Since climate change might be one of the biggest problems for the next generation, some might find it a bit worrying if one of our best tools for examining climate change was written with “bad software”.
In this post, I discuss the question of wether climate scientists lost the “bad software sweepstakes”. I’ll cover the basics of climate models, what software is commonly used in climate modeling and why, and what alternative software exists.