Artifacts in global atmospheric modeling: Two recent examples



To what extent can we trust the results of global atmospheric models? It is well known that a substantial degree of uncertainty exists in the parameters used in these models, for instance in parameterizations of complex physical processes such as convection and in reaction rates for photochemical models. Anyone familiar with computer work is also well aware of occasional “bugs,” such as an “l” typed where a “j” was intended.

However, many newcomers to the field of atmospheric modeling (or other similar Earth systems modeling endeavors) are not yet very familiar with the technical side of modeling, have little or no formal education in computer programming, and are instead expected to learn the art of programming on the job. These researchers are often unaware of some of the types of artifacts that can be generated by the software and hardware they use.