Lucia has an interesting post on how GISS Model E deals with heat from viscous dissipation here. This is an excellent and technical discussion of a specific modeling issue.
It is precisely the sort of discussion that I think is instructive and useful in this field: a specific issue about a specific model. If the models were properly documented (in an engineering sense), there would be no need to try to figure out (speculate) on how climate models did things, as it would be set out in long boring reference manuals, as is done in other fields. (Lucia mentions nuclear plants.) Climate science has, for the most part, eschewed reference manuals, preferring toy articles in “high-impact” journals. As a result, there is a niche for technical blogs, as discussions such as Lucia’s somewhat fill the gap left by the absence of reference manuals that would exist in other fields.
People sometimes complain that I’m not “interested” in the physics of AGW – opining this because of the lack of coverage of physics topics here. It’s not that I’m uninterested in the “physics” – it’s that I’m uninterested in personal opinions and pet theories. I’m interested in technical discussion of articles and models relied upon by IPCC. But 99.99% of the people who want to discuss the “physics” are not interested in discussing viscous heat dissipation in Model E, they want to discuss Mickowski or Beck or Svensmark. I have no interest in such discussions.
Lucia’s topic is dry. It’s technical. I don’t personally understand the issues, but I like seeing people discuss them in the hope that maybe I will. It’s a “Climate Audit” sort of topic. At least there’s a fighting chance that people entering the discussion can end up finding some foothold of common understanding on a technical point, as opposed to merely venting opinions past one another.