Community Intercomparison Suite (CIS) v1.4.0: a tool for intercomparing models and observations
Abstract. The Community Intercomparison Suite (CIS) is an easy-to-use command-line tool which has been developed to allow the straightforward intercomparison of remote sensing, in situ and model data. While there are a number of tools available for working with climate model data, the large diversity of sources (and formats) of remote sensing and in situ measurements necessitated a novel software solution. Developed by a professional software company, CIS supports a large number of gridded and ungridded data sources "out-of-the-box", including climate model output in NetCDF or the UK Met Office pp file format, CloudSat, CALIOP (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization), MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer), Cloud and Aerosol CCI (Climate Change Initiative) level 2 satellite data and a number of in situ aircraft and ground station data sets. The open-source architecture also supports user-defined plugins to allow many other sources to be easily added. Many of the key operations required when comparing heterogenous data sets are provided by CIS, including subsetting, aggregating, collocating and plotting the data. Output data are written to CF-compliant NetCDF files to ensure interoperability with other tools and systems. The latest documentation, including a user manual and installation instructions, can be found on our website (http://cistools.net). Here, we describe the need which this tool fulfils, followed by descriptions of its main functionality (as at version 1.4.0) and plugin architecture which make it unique in the field.