Articles | Volume 3, issue 1
16 Mar 2010
 | 16 Mar 2010

Tracers and traceability: implementing the cirrus parameterisation from LACM in the TOMCAT/SLIMCAT chemistry transport model as an example of the application of quality assurance to legacy models

A. M. Horseman, A. R. MacKenzie, and M. P. Chipperfield

Abstract. A new modelling tool for the investigation of large-scale behaviour of cirrus clouds has been developed. This combines two existing models, the TOMCAT/SLIMCAT chemistry transport model (nupdate library version 0.80, script mpc346_l) and cirrus parameterisation of Ren and MacKenzie (LACM implementation not versioned). The development process employed a subset of best-practice software engineering and quality assurance processes, selected to be viable for small-scale projects whilst maintaining the same traceability objectives. The application of the software engineering and quality control processes during the development has been shown to be not a great overhead, and their use has been of benefit to the developers as well as the end users of the results. We provide a step-by-step guide to the implementation of traceability tailored to the production of geo-scientific research software, as distinct from commercial and operational software. Our recommendations include: maintaining a living "requirements list"; explicit consideration of unit, integration and acceptance testing; and automated revision/configuration control, including control of analysis tool scripts and programs.

Initial testing of the resulting model against satellite and in-situ measurements has been promising. The model produces representative results for both spatial distribution of the frequency of occurrence of cirrus ice, and the drying of air as it moves across the tropical tropopause. The model is now ready for more rigorous quantitative testing, but will require the addition of a vertical wind velocity downscaling scheme to better represent extra-tropical continental cirrus.