Mighty Computers Allow Better Climate, Weather Forecasts
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has activated its newest weather and climate supercomputers, increasing the computational muscle behind the nation’s climate and weather forecasts by 320 percent.
The new IBM machines process 14 trillion calculations per second at maximum performance and ingest more than 240 million global observations daily.
The primary and backup systems, ranked 36th and 37th in the world on the Top 500 list of the world’s fastest computers, will enable the NOAA National Weather Service to deliver more products, with greater accuracy, at longer lead times, the agency says.
These supercomputers will consume more data and generate highly advanced models that may enable meteorologists to begin cracking hurricane intensity forecast challenges.
The machines also will process data from Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) satellites, a series of six satellites launched in 2006 that will provide NOAA National Weather Service forecasters with better understanding of jet streams and related storm systems.
These data are key to the early prediction of storms such as those that affected Denver and the Pacific Northwest in December and January.
NOAA says its partnership with IBM is a case study of the public and private sectors working together to save lives.
The supercomputers will harness 160 IBM System p575 servers, with 16 1.9 gigahertz Power5+ processors. The machines also will contain 160 terabytes of IBM system storage DS4800 disk storage systems.