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Global Climate Model Helps Untangle Complex Webs of Cause and Effect

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The software structure (subroutine) of the Community Lab Model (CLM).

The U.S. Department of Energy is encouraging researchers to integrate observations and modeling to create a better picture of Earths climate.

Credit: Dale Wang et al.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing climate researchers to integrate observational science and scientific models to create a better picture of the Earth's climate.

One of these researchers is Dali Wang of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Wang is working to modify the Community Land Model to create a scientific function-testing platform that would make it easier for scientists to create computational experiments that mimic real-world observation. This is a challenging task, as it involves simplifying the massive program's 1,800 source files and more than 350,000 lines of source code.

Two of the tools Wang has turned to are compilers and debuggers, although he is using them in novel ways. Wang says compilers can be used to easily check that software components Wang is pulling out of the model will behave in isolation exactly as they would within the model. Debuggers, meanwhile, can be used to take snapshots of the code as researchers run their simulations, giving more insight into the system's responses at a very basic level.

Wang is using a version of the DDT debugger tool from Allinea.

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