BBC: UK Climate Code May Be Scrapped

Saturday, 05 Dec 2009 02:03 PM

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One of the first victims of the Climategate scandal may by the very computer code that is supposed to track global temperature records.

According to a report by the BBC, a computer software expert says the source code used by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia is "below the standard in any commercial software." Thousands of e-mails and documents were stolen from the CRU, and published on the Internet.

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John Graham-Cumming, a top British computer programmer, compared the CRU's code to code used by NASA. He told the BBC:

"Well, if you look at the NASA stuff, it's really professional," Graham-Cumming said. "You can look at it, you can see the history. If you look at — what's done here by these alleged CRU files — it's not the thing you'd expect to see in certainly a commercial industry. You would not see this sort of source code because it's not clearly documented. There's not audit history of what's happened to it. So it would be below the standard in any commercial software. ...

"The programming language actually has a problem. And they put in some code to deal with that error. Unfortunately, in doing so they produced another error. And the upshot of this is the error occurs - the underlying error, they will skip over data that they're trying to plot without any warning to the end user. So in some sense there is data that is being lost."

On Saturday, a Saudi official predicted that the Climategate scandal would have a "huge impact" on Copenhagen climate summit.

"It appears from the details of the scandal that there is no relationship whatsoever between human activities and climate change,"Mohammad al-Sabban told the BBC. Al-Sabban is Saudi Arabia's top climate official.

"Climate is changing for thousands of years, but for natural and not human-induced reasons," he said.

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