As others have pointed out comments about the use of the word "trick" as used by scientists are like the word "hack" as used by developers with othe developers.
The real story are the comments in the read me file. 3 years as this poor SOB tries *desperately* to patch the numerous (and frequently identically named) dataset files (which regularly turn out to have different formats, none of which are documented) together. Gasp as he realises large chunks of the original database no longer *exist*. Share his seething resentment at bespoke software which does not even have a list of its command line flags and parameters. Marvel that he' hasn't gone postal and torched the whole f$%king lot of them.
I know little of detailed climate modelling but I do know a bit about monumental IT cockups. What I know about climate and weather modelling is both use *huge* datasets. A lot of the work seems to have been done in FORTRAN (and some in IDL) for this reason.
This unit (not 1 lone researcher as you might think from the state of the project) was *specifically* set up to investigate climate change.
It has *no* Data Manager.
With no one charged with setting doc standards, documenting data formats, archiving datasets or even setting reasonable directory names (WTF starts a directory or *file* name with "+"?)
In the file are repeated references to "Tim," This appears to be a Dr Tim Osborne or a Dr Tim Mitchell.
Whichever one it is seems to have astonishingly bad development skills (or the unlucky and unnamed grad students they dumped the actual development work on)
I'll play devils advocate with an anacdote. Long ago I knew a reseacher at xxxx called Kay. Kay was analysing a sim of the electric activity on the surface of the heart. Like flying over the 3d landscape and reading the potential at differnt points. It (IIRC) was also written in FORTRAN and he was trying to re-structure it into something more modular and supportable.
His comment was that it was like an archeological excavation. As you went deeper into more primitve, earlier written modules the structure got worse. You could study the writers progress as a developer.
However this unit is *not* 1 lone researcher. It is team effort with significant government funding over AFAIK 9 years. Its research results have influenced policy on a *global* scale. It beggers belief that *no* senior researcher realised that keeping track of that much data *might* need someone assigned to the task.
Despite what people have said I don't believe the *real* source data is unrecoverable. It needs an act of will to bite the bullet, admit this collosal f*&Ckup and contact the original sources.
And hire an experienced data manger.
This is a (the?) major policy issue of our time. If it's real lets see how real. If it's BS, lets kill it stone dead. To do otherwise would be to p^&s all over the scientific method. Right now I can't either way.
Fail because from an IT perspective that is exactly what this.