NOAA Steps Up Forecasting Game for 2015 with Supercomputers
The NOAA announced that by October 2015 the capacity of each of the two NOAA supercomputers in active use will jump to
1.21 gigawatts 2.5 petaflops, for a total of 5 petaflops- nearly ten times the present capacity.
Prior to this major upgrade, each computer will triple their present capacity, for a total of 1.552 petaflops.
This change will allow the NOAA to begin running an updated version of the Global Forecast System that will increase the prediction resolution from 27km to 13km for a 10 day forecast and 55km to 33km for an 11-16 day forecast. A second system, the Global Ensemble Forecast System will be improved, increasing the number of vertical levels from 42 to 64 and increasing the horizontal resolution from 55km to 27m for 8 days of data and 7km to 33km for 9-16 days of data.
System advancements have been in place since July. The Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model was upgraded and gave highly accurate information during Hurricane Arthur’s landfall in North Carolina. The National Weather Service has also implemented the High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model which delivers 15-hour numerical forecasts every hour.
The cost of these computational boosts is $44.5 million and included a $25 million contract with IBM provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 in response to Hurricane Sandy.
Improved predictive technology will doubtless provide lifesaving information about dangerous weather while keeping us less angry at the weatherman for inaccurate forecasts.
Source: NOAA Press Release
Image: Flickr/James Loesch