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Climate scientists face a wide variety of practical problems, but there exists an overarching need to efficiently access and manipulate climate model data. Increasingly, for example, researchers must assemble and analyze large datasets that are archived in different formats on disparate platforms, and must extract portions of datasets to compute statistical or diagnostic metrics in place. The need for a common virtual environment in which to access both climate model datasets and analysis tools is therefore keenly felt. The software infrastructure to support such an environment therefore not only must provide ready access to climate data but also must facilitate the use of visualization software, diagnostic algorithms, and related resources.
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