Our paper on the work of the WCRP Working Group on Climate Modeling (WGCM) Infrastructure Panel (WIP) wrecommendations for the global data infrastructure needed to support CMIP design, future growth and evolution has just appeared in GMD discussions. Please have a look and potentially contribute to the online review/discussion.


The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)’s Working Group on Climate Modeling (WGCM) Infrastructure Panel (WIP) was formed in 2014 in response to the explosive growth in size and complexity of Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIPs) between CMIP3 (2005-06) and CMIP5 (2011-12). This article presents the WIP recommendations for the global data infrastructure needed to support CMIP design, future growth and evolution. Developed in close coordination with those who build and run the existing infrastructure (the Earth System Grid Federation), the recommendations are based on several principles beginning with the need to separate requirements, implementation, and operations. Other important principles include the consideration of data as a commodity in an ecosystem of users, the importance of provenance, the need for automation, and the obligation to measure costs and benefits. This paper concentrates on requirements, recognising the diversity of communities involved (modelers, analysts, software developers, and downstream users). Such requirements include the need for scientific reproducibility and accountability alongside the need to record and track data usage for the purpose of assigning credit. One key element is to generate a dataset-centric rather than system-centric focus, with an aim to making the infrastructure less prone to systemic failure. With these overarching principles and requirements, the WIP has produced a set of position papers, which are summarized here. They provide specifications for managing and delivering model output, including strategies for replication and versioning, licensing, data quality assurance, citation, long-term archival, and dataset tracking. They also describe a new and more formal approach for specifying what data, and associated metadata, should be saved, which enables future data volumes to be estimated. The paper concludes with a future-facing consideration of the global data infrastructure evolution that follows from the blurring of boundaries between climate and weather, and the changing nature of published scientific results in the digital age.