Flexible Modeling System, plays in management of multiple instantiations of ocean and atmosphere models to support simulations for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, Phase 5 (CMIP5).5 More recently, the computational and scientific advances based on a wide range of software engineering improvements were discussed at the 2010 Annual Community Earth System Model Workshop, including the increasing use of the Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF), a trend which continues in the current development.6
This progress has been hard fought, and there remains discussion in the science and science management communities on the merit of expenditures on software infrastructure. In the early 2000s there was a feeling that software technologies would be comfortably adopted by scientific organizations—“build it and they will come.” Since the early 2000s there has been significant research into the development and adoption of infrastructure that points to the naïveté of this original notion. This research into infrastructure adoption, the identification of barriers, and strategies to overcome those barriers stands as significant new knowledge that informs the climate community going forward. Edwards et al. (2007) state,
The careful nurturance of infrastructural change, and attending to the tensions that emerge from it, is a managerial and political skill of the highest order. It is also true that management often fails, and the quiet politics of infrastructure emerge as politics of a more recognizable and sometimes uncomfortable type. Such instances of tension and resistance may constitute important sites of infrastructural learning and improvement, provided we can produce mechanisms that reliably surface and honestly report on difficulty, limitation, and failure (not a simple prescription, given the incentive structures prevailing among funders, sponsors, and builders of infrastructure). Tensions are best thought of as both barriers and resources to infrastructural development, and should be engaged constructively; in particular, they should be leveraged for their contributions to long-term properties of infrastructural fit, equity, and sustainability. Approaching tension from this perspective represents one way out of what we might term the edifice complex—the tendency to build first and ask questions later, or to treat the technical “code-and-wires” core as the realest or most essential thing about infrastructure, and the rest a social add-on—that has too frequently defined and limited the work of infrastructural development.
In U.S. climate organizations, management directive or management perception of improved organizational efficiencies does not, first and foremost, motivate adoption of infrastructure. Infrastructure adoption occurs when individuals, institutions, and man-
5 A. Wittenberg, NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), personal communication.
6 M. Vertenstein, NCAR, personal communication.