Assessing climate model software quality: a defect density analysis of three models
A climate model is an executable theory of the climate; the model encapsulates climatological theories in software so that they can be simulated and their implications investigated. Thus, in order to trust a climate model, one must trust that the software it is built from is built correctly. Our study explores the nature of software quality in the context of climate modelling. We performed an analysis of defect reports and defect fixes in several versions of leading global climate models by collecting defect data from bug tracking systems and version control repository comments. We found that the climate models all have very low defect densities compared to well-known, similarly sized open-source projects. We discuss the implications of our findings for the assessment of climate model software trustworthiness.