Latest Computer Models Zoom Down to Level of Individual Storm Cells
SEATTLE, WA, Aug 29, 2007 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (NASDAQ: CRAY) today announced
that scientists have leveraged the power of a Cray supercomputer at
the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) to break new ground in
weather prediction. Researchers from the University of Oklahoma's
Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms (CAPS) and the National
Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employed an innovative
combination of high resolution and controlled manipulation of
numerical model parameters and starting conditions to develop
strategies that will allow forecasters to better anticipate the
formation of severe storms and the supercells that give birth to
destructive tornados. The research was part of the NOAA Hazardous
Weather Testbed (HWT) Spring Experiment.
"Each day during the Spring Experiment that was conducted from
mid-April through early June, CAPS scientists applied emerging
scientific methods to design a 10-member 'ensemble' of forecasts from
the Weather Research and Forecasting, or WRF, software model,"
explained Dr. Ming Xue, director of CAPS. "Each member had a
4-kilometer horizontal resolution and covered almost the entire
continental U.S. Unlike a single-model forecast, this ensemble not
only predicted when and where particular weather might occur, but
also the likelihood of its occurrence."
"Ensembles have been employed by larger-scale weather models before,
but they've never been focused on the few-kilometer scales where
individual storms actually occur," Dr. Xue continued. "The ensemble
approach is exceptionally demanding when it comes to computational
power and can only be accomplished on a high-performance, scalable
system such as the Cray XT(TM)-based system at PSC."
Every day during the course of the experiment, terabytes (trillions
of bytes) of data were generated, archived and transferred from PSC to
Norman, Oklahoma, for use in forecasts, evaluations and future
analysis and research. The HWT facility in Norman is strategically
located in the recently built National Weather Center between the
operational forecast areas of the NOAA Storm Prediction Center (SPC)
and the NOAA National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office. These
two offices, together with the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
(NSSL), led the experiment during the time of year when severe storm
activity typically peaks in the region.
"The researchers had previously struggled to complete a single
modeling run per day thus hampering a comprehensive understanding of
how severe storms and tornadoes form," said Per Nyberg, Cray
Marketing Director for Earth Sciences. "The scalability and sustained
performance of the Cray XT system at PSC allowed them to complete 11
runs each day while using more sophisticated parameterizations. This
is a key step in helping forecasters predict violent storms in time
to prevent injury and loss of life."
About the NOAA Hazardous Weather Testbed Spring Experiment
The Spring Experiment conducted jointly by the SPC and NSSL would not
have been possible without contributions from multiple partners. These
two organizations, along with NOAA's Environmental Modeling Center
(EMC) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), worked
with CAPS and PSC in the design and execution of the ensemble
forecasts. In addition, EMC and NCAR provided separate
high-resolution WRF model forecasts for a complementary portion of
the experiment. The WRF model was developed primarily at NCAR and
EMC. The CAPS forecasts were produced under the support of the NOAA
CSTAR program and the National Science Foundation Linked Environments
for Atmospheric Discovery Large ITR project. The NSF TeraGrid and
National Lambda Rail networks connected the groups in Pittsburgh and
Norman. Go to http://hwt.nssl.noaa.gov/Spring_2007/ for more
About Cray Inc.
As a global leader in supercomputing, Cray provides highly advanced
supercomputers and world-class services and support to government,
industry and academia. Cray technology enables scientists and
engineers to achieve remarkable breakthroughs by accelerating
performance, improving efficiency and extending the capabilities of
their most demanding applications. Cray's Adaptive Supercomputing
vision will result in innovative next-generation products that
integrate diverse processing technologies into a unified
architecture, allowing customers to surpass today's limitations and
meeting the market's continued demand for realized performance. Go to
www.cray.com for more information.
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SOURCE: Cray Inc.