Prometheus unbound

The HARRY_READ_ME.txt file leaked from East Anglia CRU is a combination of FORTRAN and comments by the programmer who inherited the maintenance and “enhancement” of some of the world’s premier climate modeling software. The file is intended to help others understand how the climate modeling software works and to help the programmer remember why he coded such and such. He documents his travails. It is evident that he was frustrated.

Here are a few examples of his view of the system from the Toronto Sun.

Page 17 “But what are all those monthly files? DON’T KNOW, UNDOCUMENTED. Wherever I look, there are data files, no info about what they are other than their names. And that’s useless “

P18 “It’s botch after botch after botch.”

P31 “The biggest immediate problem was the loss of an hour’s edits to the program, when the network died … no explanation from anyone, I hope it’s not a return to last year’s troubles … This surely is the worst project I’ve ever attempted. Eeeek.”

P37 “Oh, GOD, if I could start this project again and actually argue the case for junking the inherited program suite.”

P45 “… this should all have been rewritten from scratch a year ago!”

P47 “Am I the first person to attempt to get the CRU databases in working order?!!”

P57 “As far as I can see, this renders the (weather) station counts totally meaningless.”

P71 “COBAR AIRPORT AWS (data from an Australian weather station) cannot start in 1962, it didn’t open until 1993!”

P98 “What the hell is supposed to happen here? Oh yeah — there is no ‘supposed,’ I can make it up. So I have : – )”

P98-99 “You can’t imagine what this has cost me — to actually allow the operator to assign false WMO (World Meteorological Organization) codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a ‘Master’ database of dubious provenance …”

– “So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option — to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations … In other words what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad …”

P241 “OH F— THIS. It’s Sunday evening, I’ve worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done, I’m hitting yet another problem that’s based on the hopeless state of our databases.”

P266 “This whole project is SUCH A MESS …”

Aside from the fact that this demonstrates why programmers seldom work in the Marketing Department, it is worthwhile to remember Harry is trying to model a vast and chaotic system with tools which are, even if used with utmost precision, inadequate to the task. This alone is why I have never believed the climate modeling software output. The programming is impossible in a world where Chaos Theory suggests a butterfly’s wing-flap in Brazil can initiate a chain of events resulting in a typhoon in the Indian Ocean. If you could convincingly model that, you could convincingly begin to design something to model climate, centuries into the future.

But the bug-ridden, data-deprived, agenda-bent climate models we already have don’t even account for clouds. None – not one – of the AGW climate models accounts for the effect of clouds in the basic algorithms. Clouds, by the way, are formed from the most important greenhouse gas – water vapor. H2O accounts for 95% of all greenhouse effects on this planet.

So, it turns out that the programs they actually use for the computer model are worse than useless. The data is just short of random (that of it which was not deleted). The programmer has to guess at which of the 11,000 uncatalogued files are appropriate as input to any one of hundreds of sub-routines, and he has to modify the code to preserve the hokey stick. (That’s not a typo.)

On evidence produced by this, this …words fail me… we are supposed to return to the energy use of the early 20th Century as well as pay billions of dollars to the third world through Al Gore’s carbon indulgences company. I suppose it would work, just not quite as well as foreign aid.

In an email, D.S. provides this summary:

This CRU project isn’t just bad design combined with bad code, it’s bad design (actually it’s design-on-the-fly) combined with bad code combined with bad data. They had non-existent weather stations (which they simply added as “new” weather stations), the same weather station but with different latitudes and longitudes, weather stations with latitudes and longitudes that put them in another country and even one that was reporting data 30 years before it was built. And yet with hundreds (thousands?) of computer manipulations of the input data using blatant assumptions to make it look coherent (or at least capable of being processed without crashing) and processing it with flakey code that generated errors the programmer had never seen before, Phil Jones professes great confidence in the output and it was a major basis for the IPPC report. What a farce!

Whoever liberated this data from East Anglia is just short of Prometheus’ in his service to mankind. Prometheus name means forethought in English. You may recall Prometheus’ gift to humanity was fire and what he suffered for giving it.

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