Skeptics Are Still Upset
NASA has always been reluctant to release it's computer code. The reasoning behind this is as follows:
We publish hundreds of papers a year from GISS alone. We have more data, code and model output online than any comparable institution, we have a number of public scientists who comment on the science and the problems to most people and institutions who care to ask. And yet, the demand is always for more transparency. This is not a demand that will ever be satisfied since there will always be more done by the scientists than ever makes it into papers or products. My comments above stand - independent replication from published descriptions - the algorithms in English, rather than code - are more valuable to everyone concerned than dumps of impenetrable and undocumented code. - gavinThe English version of the code has always been available in what gavin calls "excruciating detail" in the relevant papers. After the miscommunication between NOAA and NASA about the content of NOAA's changing real time data streams the pressure from to release temperature code has changed NASA's tune. It is now available online here:
detailing the release in which Hansen made the following comment:
Because the programs include a variety of languages and computer unique functions, Reto would have preferred to have a week or two to combine these into a simpler more transparent structure, but because of a recent flood of demands for the programs, they are being made available as is. People interested in science mayAnd if you either read Gavin's previous comment or have done any programing yourself you would know that reading undocumented computer code can be extremely difficult. And in the comments of the skeptic site ClimateAudit.org we have the following comment:
want to wait a week or two for a simplified version.
As a general rule I’m not fond of heavily documented code because it introduces an additional point of failure. As code is edited, it begins to no longer resemble the comments unless the extra work to maintain the comments is done as well. And in my experience, this is almost never done. So I’d tend to cut Hansen some slack here on the source code.Which defends NASA's practice of undocumented code. Despite getting what he wanted McIntyre is not happy:
And he is apparently digging through reams of red tape to see what he can throw at Hansen:
In my first post on the matter, I suggested that Hansen’s most appropriate response was to make his code available promptly and cordially. Since a somewhat embarrassing error had already been identified, I thought that it would be difficult for NASA to completely stonewall the matter regardless of Hansen’s own wishes in the matter. [snip] Had Hansen done so, if he wished, he could then have included an expression of confidence that the rest of the code did not include material defects. Now he’s had to disclose the code anyway and has done so in a rather graceless way.
NASA has very specific standards applicable to software described here . [snip] As I understand it, GISS is part of the Goddard Space Flight Center and is subject to these guidelines. It looks like they apply even to HansenNow I personally agree with McIntyre that the code should have been released right away even if it was so unreadable it would have been useless. However, given that GISS research science is operating on a "going-out-of-business budget" I'm starting to wonder if all of this ruckus is just a tactic to prevent any meaningful research from being done. Those standards are for billion dollar rockets and not scientific experiments that can be independently verified by other research teams like the CRU. Hansen has barely enough money to support a skeleton staff and to make sure his lawns are mowed yet McIntyre expects him to jump through more and more hoops? The code is released, the papers were always public and the data is public yet McIntyre wants more blood.... I'd love to know how much sleep Hansen gets.